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The online life of Generation Y

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Friday June 9, 2006 )

As with Generation X, there’s some debate as to the timespan that Generation Y covers, but it appears to be generally agreed upon that it applies to those people born between 1977-1994. This means that those born earlier in the period could also be identified as Generation X. Generation Y is also referred to as GenY, Echo Baby Boomers or The Millennials.

Generation Y is the first generation to really grow up with the Internet – so what exactly are they doing on the web and how involved are they in online life?

According to a recent research from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner/Polimetrix; The Gen Y group first went online, on average, whey they were just over 12 years old. I’m from Generation X and thinking back, the first time I was online was at the age of 24.

Almost a quarter of Generation Y began using the internet at age 10 or younger and the average time online for this group is 8.7 years.

Other key findings from the survey:

– 86% use email every day
– 56% read the news online at least weekly
– 45% bank online
– 43% read blogs weekly

The survey also shows that the Internet has by no means replaced the importance of face-to-face communications or the importance of those phone thingies that I see many people use ;). Email and Instant Messaging rank third and fourth respectively as being Generation Y’s favorite form of communication.

Here’s a very interesting point – 78% of the 18-24 year olds surveyed have a personal web site, web page, or blog and 52% have a MySpace profile. Dang, the word “MySpace” just keeps popping up, doesn’t it :).

The biggest concern for Generation Y in relation to online activities is receiving high levels of spam (marketers, take note) and identity theft.

In my opinion, Generation Y is still their own worst enemy when it comes to what they term “spam”; they really tend not to check out what they are signing up for – they see what they wish to see and skip the fine print in many online offers. But that kind of impulsivity has always same for that age group, it’s a phenomenon not isolated to this Internet generation. The important thing for marketers to be aware of is that in the minds of this group, “spam” means an email they don’t particularly like; whether they have opted in for it or not – so market to this group carefully :).

While Generation Y is well known for divulging personal details, the survey shows they do value the concept of online privacy *slightly* over the convenience the web can offer.

Read more fascinating tidbits about Generation Y in the “MySpace Generation Survey” (PDF)


Marketing to Generation X


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