Gen Y First Native Online Generation

Forrester Research says Gen Xers use technology when it supports a lifestyle need, while technology is so deeply embedded into everything Gen Yers do that they are truly the first native online population.

"Gen Y is the audience that most companies are struggling to understand right now because it's key to their future revenue growth," says Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

Although Gen Y,18- to 28-year-olds, represent only 38 million U.S. adults, it sets the pace for technology adoption. Nine in 10 Gen Yers own a PC, and 82 percent own a mobile phone. But it's technology use that sets this generation apart: Gen Y spends more time online — for leisure or work — than watching TV.

Seventy-two percent of Gen Y mobile phone owners send or receive text messages, and 42 percent of online Gen Yers watch Internet video at least monthly.

In contrast, Gen X, which is comprised of 29- to 42-year-olds — 63 million US adults — uses technology when it intersects with a personal need or fulfills a desire. For example, 32 percent of Gen X households own an HDTV, and 29 percent have a DVR.

In the past three months, 69 percent of online Gen Xers shopped online, and 65 percent banked online, higher percentages than any other generation. Gen X is also ramping up its Internet and mobile activities, including reading blogs (21 percent of online Gen Xers do it at least monthly, up from 15 percent in 2007) and texting (61 percent of Gen X mobile subscribers do it today, up from 49 percent in 2007).
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