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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 22, 2014

Study dispels myth that 15-24 year olds are the true 'digital natives'

Those who have grown up with digital technology - 'digital natives' - are the most active of Internet users, right? Wrong, according to new data from Kantar Media's TGI Clickstream study.

by Helen Leggatt

According to the study, just because you were born in the age of digital, does not make you more likely to involve yourself in all things digital. Those between the ages of 15 and 24, dubbed 'digital natives', were found by Kantar Media to be no more likely than other age groups to be active.

In fact, the study found that the best predictor of digital activity and behavior was not age, but a user's 'Social DNA', defined as the "fundamental amount and mix of economic and cultural capital (cultural capital defined as general knowledge acquired through education and cultural practices)".

To illustrate the differences, or lack thereof, Kantar Media cites several scenarios.

- Just under 30% of digital natives have paid to download an app - the same number as among 35-44 year olds.

- Digital natives are 22% less likely to buy holidays or travel online while those age 35-64 with high Social DNA are 65% more likely than the average Internet use to make such purchases online;

- The above travel example was shown not to be driven by older age groups having more 'financial clout'; those in the older age group with only high cultural capital (not financial) were still 43% more likely to buy holidays and travel online than the average Internet user;

- Digital natives are only 8% more likely than the average Internet user to buy music or videos online while those age 35-64 with high Social DNA are 52% more likely.

"It is crucial that marketers recognize that the truly valuable digital consumers are not simply young adults, or they are likely to see little return on their targeting efforts," says Anne Benoist, Director, TGI Insights and Integration, Kantar Media. "To truly identify and leverage those consumers who are most engaged with digital and particularly lucrative in a digital environment, it is necessary to get away from notions of age and instead consider the key drivers dictating how consumers make decisions."

Tags: consumer persona, digital natives, online behavior

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