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From Boomers To Gen Z: How Different Generations Adapt And React To New Trends And Technologies

From Boomers To Gen Z: How Different Generations Adapt And React To New Trends And Technologies

by Joseph Taylor March 16, 2018

Demographics shine a light into how to reach different generations and when to invest in new emerging trends

Earlier this year, we conducted a study of 420 respondents to understand the interest, acceptance and impact of new technology trends amongst Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers. We asked each generation for their positive, neutral or negative views on recent emerging trends, from impact of ambient experiences to the democratisation of AI.

It comes as no surprise that different generations exhibited varying levels of interest and acceptance. The study showed that whilst younger generations were very interested and accepting of all new technological trends, older generations were very specific about their interest in forms of technological interactions and consumption. The insights presented below should provide a useful guide when it comes to assessing the appropriate marketing mix to target markets that marketers are interested in serving. Furthermore, these insights will support the assessment of prioritisation of investment into new trends versus further optimisation into existing well-established communication channels and experiences.

"Consumers have needs, human motivations and intents which compliment their gender and age profile. It would be foolish to assume that Gen Z is the only generation that benefits or makes daily use of the latest technological innovations. Far from it, generations like Gen X are utilising new and emerging technologies to enhance their daily lives. Trends like visual discovery and personal assistants reflect utilitarian motivations, seeking product or service information, as well as community-driven opinions and personal advice," says Joseph Taylor, SVP of Technology and Operations, International at Epsilon.

Here, we've isolated the demographic insights to give you a top-level view at how these different generations responded to the trends listed below. Download the whitepaper for further details about these trends.

  • Camera as a platform
  • VR gets social
  • Evolution of social messaging
  • Immersive eSports
  • Contextual commerce
  • Democratisation of AI
  • Visual discovery
  • Voice and visual
  • Personalised audio
  • Augmented art
  • Mixing reality
  • Connected intelligence
  • Brain-computer interface

Gen Z

Gen Z were born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000. This generation is highly influenced by the connected digital environment, and are heavy users of mobile devices and social media. Overall, this cohort displayed three very interesting observations.

Firstly, their increasing appetite for media consumption reflects their regular need for inspiration, motivation and entertainment. They are the only generation to express positive sentiment towards social VR and immersive eSports.

Secondly, new technologies such as social messaging and social VR depicts the importance of social interaction and personal identity. This highly social group seeks belonging, looks for role models and uses digital technologies as an extension of their own personal identity.

Thirdly, Gen Zers were positive about 12 of the 13 trends surveyed and only neutral to contextual commerce – the integration of purchasing opportunities into their everyday interactions. Just like the Baby Boomers, they didn’t exhibit any interest in transactional enablers.

Millennials

Born between 1982 and the mid-1990s, millennial consumers grew up during an era of rapid technological development. This cohort was positive to 11 out of the 13 trends and neutral to social VR and immersive eSports. This generation prefers to enjoy sport and social entertainment as a live experience over an augmented or virtual experience.

The survey found that millennials expressed a positive sentiment towards contextual commerce, having grown up in an era of broad-target traditional advertising. They are more inclined to appreciate the benefits of more refined messaging due to the irrelevance it filters out.

Gen X

Gen X were born between the period of 1961 and 1981 and their survey results showed a significant difference from Millennials and Gen Z.

Gen X reacted positively to 5 of the 13 trends, with specific interest and preferences towards technologies that truly enhanced their daily lives. Visual product discovery and the use of personal digital assistants reflect Gen X’s utilitarian needs to discover better product and services information, community-driven opinions and personal advice.

Gen X provided a negative feedback to the democratisation of AI theme. These respondents disliked the notion of experiences driven by algorithms.

Boomers

Baby boomers provided a mixed set of responses, with 4 negative responses, 2 positive responses and the remaining 7 as neutral. Just like Gen X, these respondents did not show an interest in experiences influenced by AI and ML-based algorithms. Similarly, they provided a negative response to ambient experiences driven by augmented reality and virtual reality.

Nevertheless, Baby boomers are very selective in the use of new and emerging technologies. This generation is very interested in assistive technology such as personal assistants and connected intelligence that are aware of their needs and improves their daily lives. They are unsurprisingly more cautious in adopt new technologies, particularly those which have a profound impact upon traditional approaches to interaction.

Summary

In summary, this study highlighted the importance of understanding your target market before selecting the appropriate channels for communicating your value propositions. New digital trends do provide us with new contextual opportunities to drive brand engagement. “Understanding the level and type of response from generational cohorts to new and emerging technology trends, will improve a marketer’s chances of driving more effective consumer engagement and a more efficient marketing investments," says Joseph Taylor, SVP of Technology and Operations, International at Epsilon.

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