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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Generation Y Vs. Boomer Survey

Accenture, a management consulting firm, recently conducted a survey among 3,000 consumers across the United States to create its annual report on consumer electronics products and services usage. The survey's results offer a host of surprising discoveries.

  • Baby boomers (defined in Accenture's survey as those 45 years old or older) are embracing popular consumer technology applications nearly 20 times faster than younger generations. Who'd a thunk it?
  • Compared to a year ago, Gen Y (consumers between the ages of 18 and 24) are decelerating their use of consumer electronics and related services (social networking, blogging, listening to podcasts, watching and posting video on the Internet). Perhaps their fingers are getting tired from all that texting?
  • The "connected home" isn't happening. Survey respondents picked game consoles, television and portable music players as three consumer electronics products whose ability to connect to the Internet either directly or through a home network is "unimportant" to them. They're probably right about the "connected home", but I'm not so sure about the television. Let's see what the survey says next year.
  • 91 percent of survey respondents said they spend "zero hours per week" in a virtual world such as "Second Life." That means that the 9% that do play spend all their waking hours there.
  • The survey showed a 67 percent increase among baby boomers reading blogs or listening to podcasts. In contrast, Gen Y's usage of such applications was flat, declining by less than one percentage point. Today, 45 percent of Gen Y are engaged in reading blogs or listening to podcasts, while 26 percent of baby boomers have begun to do so. Still have a way to go to catch up with those "Y'ers."
  • Similarly, baby boomers connected on social networking sites jumped by 59 percent. Meanwhile, the usage and activities among Gen Y on social networking sites have also plateaued, showing only a two percent increase. After all those divorces, boomers must be dating again.
  • Gen Y consumers watching and posting videos on the Internet declined by 2 percent over the last 12 months, while similar use among baby boomers increased by 35 percent. How long can you watch crappy videos before you get a life? Wait - how long can you make crappy videos before you get a life?
I think what this survey shows is, despite what we've been told, every generation has adopted all the latest technologies. Some get there later, but they get there eventually.

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