Media Study Reveals Disappearing Generation Gap

There’s a shift in consumer influence that hasn’t been widely recognized yet: In the USA at least, age no longer dictates a consumer’s willingness or ability to use media technology or services. The 2009 Media Engagement Barometer commissioned by Motorola’s Home & Networks Mobility business has revealed that in fact, all generations – Millennials (75 percent), Gen Xers (74 percent) and Boomers (66 percent) – recognize the role entertainment technologies play in helping them keep their lives in order, which helps explain why Millennials (80 percent), Gen Xers (78 percent) and Boomers (78 percent) are equally likely to desire to be constantly connected.

With all generations now immersed in entertainment technologies, we must look beyond age to predict influences.

* Connectivity is more of a lifestyle issue. Being accessible at all times is seen as a necessity across generations (Millennials, 79 percent; Gen Xers, 64 percent; Boomers, 65 percent).
* There is a two-way dialogue between consumers of all ages as they engage with technology products and share their experiences. The majority of Americans report influencing the decisions of their children (75 percent), friends (74 percent), colleagues (67 percent) and parents (58 percent).
* Parents, grandparents and children alike are actively engaged in the tech sphere of influence. Gen X and Boomer parents reveal that they are influencing their children’s tech habits (Gen Xers, 87 percent and Boomers, 79 percent) even more than their Gen X (62 percent) and Millennial (76 percent) children influence their habits.

Traditionally, Millennials have been touted as the “tech generation” and viewed as the primary influencers on their parents’ technology purchases and behaviors. Motorola’s 2008 study among Millennials revealed that 71 percent of Millennials have influence over parental decisions about cable, DSL or dish-satellite services (SOURCE: “Motorola Home and Networks Mobility Millennial White Paper,” 2008).

However, as evidenced in the Media Engagement Barometer findings, parents are influencing their children’s tech decisions as often as – if not more than – their children are influencing them. That’s why it is time to reevaluate our understanding of the sphere of influence. Regardless of age, consumers are turning to cross-generation tech influencers who are defined by their media consumption habits.

Although not as ‘connected’ as their US counterparts, Asian boomers are catching up fast. The video includes an interview with Suzanne Martin, who has the interesting title of Sr. Director of Marketing for North America and Asia (big patch!). Will Motorola do a similar study in this region, Suzanne? We live in hope. She also makes a VERY wise statement in conclusion “there is a need to make sure (as an industry) we are putting the user at the center of the experience planning. It’s not just about the technology.” Music to our ears!