We understand Baby Boomers and Millennials. We know the peculiar quirks and characteristics of each. However, there is a new generation of influencers and early adopters, who are becoming known as the ‘iGen’, or Generation Z. According to new research undertaken by the Austin-based Center of Generational Kinetics, this is the generation of technology-savvy young people who have been raised to be fully confident with new and emerging technologies, while conducting a huge element of their socialising and research online.

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While many older online users are still considering platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to be modern constructs for social networking, the Generation Z members are far more likely to favour more immediate and personal sites, such as Snapchat, to conduct online communications. This new generation of consumers, likely to have been born in 1996 or after, is familiar with instant gratification in terms of high-speed broadband, mutual knowledge sharing and full integration of all aspects of their life within technological platforms and apps.

A key aspect of this generational trend is the fact that the iGen market of tech-savvy consumers is becoming the focus of planned developments and strategic evolution for technologies. As so many younger consumers forge identities which include their online presence and personal brand, it stands to reason that they are going to be the target market for shaping the future of application development, to cater for their different preferences and wishes. For example, iGen individuals are more comfortable with talking on the phone, while Millennials tend to favour social networking to keep in contact with their circle of friends. iGens favour communication platforms which don’t rely upon maintaining threads, using instant messaging with no paper trail to keep in touch.

In order to determine the preferences and emerging trends within the new iGen classification, the research surveyed one thousand respondents, with ages varying from 14 through to 69. The survey requested details and preferences pertaining to consumer habits through to phone etiquette, to gain a thorough understanding of individual views on social media, communications and technology. To bolster data obtained relating to Generation Z, researchers also broadened the numbers of younger respondents to capture information specific to this emerging consumer group.

The research yielded some interesting results. For example, Generation X, Millennials and Baby Boomers all considered the age of 18 to be an appropriate year to obtain a smartphone for the first time, while iGen respondents considered 13 to be absolutely fine. Gen Z also had very different approaches to etiquette, considering it acceptable and normal to refer to the smartphone within social situations and settings. Surprisingly, Generation Z had more concerns about security when conducting online transactions and purchasing, while Millennials were much more likely to feel confident in using credit or debit cards online. Younger respondents stated a preference for using a mobile app to conduct financial transactions, above online card payments.

The emergence of this new tech-savvy, confident generation is going to be a key influencer for new and emerging technologies, driving strategic direction and prompting generation-led developments.

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