Millennials’ Tech Affects Work, Shopping - eMarketer
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Millennials’ Tech Affects Work, Shopping

Employers and retailers take note: Young adults know what they want, and move at Internet speed to get it.

December 1, 2008

Young people ages 18 to 24 have specific technology usage and preferences that affect how they work, study and buy online.

Accenture released data in October 2008 on millennials’ tech usage and attitudes in work and school. The company found the group expected to use their own technology and mobile devices rather than those supplied by employers or schools. More than one-half of respondents said mobile phones were their preferred means of communication, while 35% said they preferred using the Internet from home.

“If their employers don’t support their preferred technologies, Millennials will acquire and use them anyway,” said Gary Curtis, managing director of Accenture Technology Consulting, in a statement.

Preferred Communication and TV Services of US Adult Internet Users, by Generation, December 2007 (% of respondents)

More than one-quarter of respondents also said they wrote openly about themselves and friends online, and 17% openly shared details of their lives online. These preferences and usage habits affect young adults’ online shopping behavior as well.

“[Millennials] were born with a keyboard in their hands,” Mila Goodman, director of experience strategy at Resource Interactive, told eMarketer. “They’ve always been plugged in. They don’t know a world without computers and laptops and Internet and mobile phones.”

Ms. Goodman said the combination of technology and open sharing of experiences affected how millennials shopped, taking the form of online ‘preshopping.’

“Millennials reserve the actual shopping activity in the store because it’s a social activity for them,” she said. “They’re always with their friends. We know that they can’t make a decision by themselves. They need constant validation from their peer group that they’re making the right decisions—and they’ll seek out that validation.”

It is hard to overestimate the Internet as a factor in how young adults shop. Nine out of 10 US adults surveyed in May 2008 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project said they used the Internet.

US Internet User Penetration, by Generation, May 2008 (% of population in each group)

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