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Tech Trends: Favorite Devices and Services for Young and Old

Can I tell you a personal story?

In 1985 my dad scrimped and saved to buy a VCR, which was the hot new home entertainment gadget at the time. After he bought one, he saved up to buy another so that he could play movies on one and record them on the other.

(Don’t tell the FCC!)

My mom and her sisters pooled their money to give my grandparents a VCR for their anniversary. I remember all the younger folks showing them how to rewind and fastforward the tape. This was cutting-edge technology, back then. Everyone wanted a VCR!

Now, fastfoward that memory tape (see what I did there?) to just a couple of years ago, when my mom and her sisters pooled their money to buy my grandparents an iPad for their anniversary.

Oh, how the times have changed.

Which is why Deloitte’s annual Digital Democracy Survey is a valuable tool. Not only does it track technology consumption trends across a wide range of ages, it identifies attitudes and behaviors about media as they shift and change — all of which is great information for any marketer to have in hand.

From this year’s survey introduction:

The rapidly growing amount of content available via the Internet and the proliferation of devices offering high-quality viewing experiences has drastically shifted the way consumers view, access, and purchase content.

The ninth edition of Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey, fielded in November 2014, illustrates consumers’ mounting appetite for content—especially video—anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

The survey analyzes the products and services preferences of 2,000 Americans aged 14 to over 68. The generations are roughly categorized as Trailing Millennials (age 14-25), Leading Millennials (26-31), Generation Xers (32-48), Baby Boomers (49-67), and Matures (68+). The graphic below shows their population skew:


Let’s take a peek at this year’s results, shall we?

Who owns what?

Laptop computers reign supreme in the homes of Trailing Millennials up through Generation X, but Baby Boomers and Matures have a lot of flat panel televisions.

The raw numbers show where key values lie: the youngest generation mostly owns laptops (91%) and smartphones (86%) and the oldest generation mostly owns television (87%) and desktop computers (83%).

Download our checklist of 30+ ways to promote content here.



Who values what?

It’s one thing to have something and another to love it. Here, interestingly, we find that the smartphone makes it into the top three favorite products for every single generation. Still, the values from one age range to another are very different. Matures rank their good ol’ desktop computers first (86%) and their televisions second (80%), while Trailing Millennials find it hard to choose between their smartphones (76%) and laptops (75%). I find it fascinating that televisions made it into the top three for Leading Millennials and not for Trailing — the younger group seems to value their gaming consoles more.


Which service is tops?

While we’re on the subject of values, let’s look at the preferred media services across generations. It’ll probably come as a shock to no one that home internet tops out everyone’s short lists. But how about the major discrepancy between streaming video preferences, huh? 72% of Trailing Millennials want it versus just 6% of Matures. Conversely, 65% of Matures enjoy having a landline telephone as opposed to 17% of Trailing Millennials.

The most interesting shift, for me, is in cable or satellite TV. The numbers show that younger generations increasingly prefer to stream or download shows and movies. Traditional programming is digging in its heels but I firmly believe that providers will have to shift from bundled services to à la carte if they want to stay alive.


Check out the full report here. Then come back and tell me: which device or service can’t you live without?


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