Some interesting results of a two year study by Accenture about the usage patterns of various types of consumer technology products and services among U.S. consumers. (download here).
The goal was to determine if there had been any changes in usage between Baby Boomers (age 45 and older) and Generation Y (ages 18 to 24). The research uncovered several interesting trends:
* Baby Boomers are embracing consumer technology applications nearly 20 times faster than the younger generation.
* Generation Y’s cravings for consumer technology applications are leveling off.
* Mobile handsets are not widely viewed as entertainment devices
* The connected home vision is not yet reality.
1) Generation Y’s Cravings for Consumer Technology Applications Are Levelling Off: For service providers, these results sound a cautionary note about the need to rapidly innovate on new services that leverage the network. New types of mobile data services, as well as extending choices for anytime, anywhere video, are critical focus areas.
2) Mobile Handsets Not Widely Viewed as Entertainment Devices-Yet: Creating a more enriching, entertaining, and stimulating experience is going to be key for the mobile handset market to realize its full potential. Finally, handsets need to be more customized to serve discrete demographic and geographic groups.
3) The Connected Home Vision Is Not Yet Headed Towards Reality: Although the digital home remains less than a universally craved phenomenon, there is a clear consumer segment that understands and is using the power of networked devices in the home. Consumer technology manufacturers have a tremendous opportunity to differentiate their devices through applications that leverage the network connectivity increasingly present in the home-and accelerate its growth.
4) By Wide Margins, Boomers Prefer PCs, Generation Y Prefers Mobile Handsets: One move to consider, based on these findings, is to emphasize investment in the next generation of mobile devices, as Generation Y preferences for mobile solutions can be expected to become more of the norm in terms of consumer preference and usage.
The rapidly growing network PC segment, featuring smaller, lower cost, and lower weight products such as net books, could be the answer for Boomers wanting to get a computer for basic applications they feel comfortable using. And the lower price fits the more limited economic resources of Generation Y.
A device that merges specific needs of Boomers and Generation Yers would be a small, portable mobile handset/computer hybrid with wireless connectivity.