The recent CBC study concluded that Gen Z far out paces Millennials and baby boomers by different measures of technological adoption.
The study suggests that laggard technological adoption by boomers (and to a lesser extent by Millennials) may have created an unbreachable chasm. Why is this generational chasm important? Because it impacts everything from purchase, to mobile consumption of media, to how we interact with others.
How we use mobile technology is generationally different
In the CBC study, they found that Gen Z users use mobile technology
- Three times as often as boomers for social media
- Twice as often for email
- Twice as often to watch television or other media.
The impact of such different consumption patterns is clear: in order to reach different generations of people, vastly different delivery methods and strategies must be employed. In the future, businesses may need to hyper-target and even neglect entire populations of people based upon their technological aptitude / adoption.
Even comparing the subpopulations of Gen Z (teenagers) and Millennials, a significant gap in technological aptitude emerges. The study found that teenagers outpaced the millennial compatriots by at least 10% in mobile use of social networks and use of smart phones and consumption of media to mobile devices. While comparison of baby boomers results in large disparities, quite distinguishable differences are evident between the population of digital natives and Millennials.
Mobile ownership is extremely different between generations
The CBC study found:
- 80% of Millennials own smartphones
- 36% of all Canadian adults own smartphones
This makes it quite clear that inter-generational chasms are real. How realistic is it that older generations will bridge that gap? Probably not very realistic and all. Ownership doesn’t convey how far apart (technologically) different generations have become, however.
The CBC makes a point to emphasize that mobile ownership doesn’t imply anything about how those technologies are used. A large percentage of boomers by technology but do not use, or use it less robustly then the younger counterparts. Boomers “reflect” the market rather than drive it.
It is probably not controversial to most readers that mobile adoption and technological adoption are higher for younger generations and they are for older generations. But the way that different generations exploit these technologies and the rate that they own mobile devices create some very real difficulties both for intergenerational communication but also marketing communication to different generations. It will be interesting to note as the cost and accessibility of these technologies decrease the extent that older generations choose to further adapt or ignore mobile.
I’m curious to know your thoughts about this.
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