The always-connected “generation” is no longer just limited to young, early adopters. People from all walks of life, across expanding age brackets, are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile devices and internet connectivity.
Some people are becoming so reliant on their digital devices the thought of living without them is close to incomprehensible.
A study published in February this year found that 77 percent of young people in the UK aged 18-24 said they suffer from “nomophobia” -- the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.
“Today's connected consumers demand instant access to personalized content on their own terms,” said computer giant IBM in a study published to coincide with the 2012 NAB Show (April 14-19).
IBM surveyed 3,800 consumers in China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States for the study.
IBM found that not only are people rapidly adopting connected digital devices, they can be classed into four distinct “digital personalities” based on their digital consumption behaviors.
IBM also identified Viewing on Demand, Non-Linear Viewing, Mobile Viewing and Social Consumption as four new and emerging digital consumption trends.
In today’s culture there is a strong trend towards on-demand content viewing (aka timeshifting). This form of content consumption has become the norm in places such as the UK and the US where more than half of the early adopters and mainstream consumers access online video whenever it suits their schedules said IBM.
Three out of four adults have adopted multi-screen viewing habits where they surf the web or text their friends while watching TV and over 50 percent of early adopters and mainstream consumers in Japan, the UK and the US said they regularly access content on their smartphone or other connected device.
The majority of respondents in IBM’s study said they used digital content to simplify their life, a digital personality type IBM dubbed “Efficiency Expert.” An additional 35 percent of respondents said they fell into the “Connected Maestro” category -- which is defined as someone who frequently communicates with friends and family online using mobile phones.
Age plays little part in defining someone’s digital personality said IBM. It’s a bold statement given that the majority of digital device usage and content consumption studies are based on defined age group typecasting.
“Seventy-seven percent of 45-54 year-olds and three quarters of folks in the 55-64 age bracket expressed a willingness to adopt new consumer electronics devices,” said IBM while adding that “sixty-five percent of respondents aged 55 to 64 report surfing the Web and texting with friends while watching TV. Of those over age 65 watching TV, 49 percent surf the Web and 30 percent are texting. Eighty-two percent of surveyed global consumers aged 18 to 64 are embracing connected digital devices.”
So which digital personality group do you fit into?
IBM classifies the four new digital personality types as:
With 41 percent in this category, these respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the internet via mobile phones, and shop online.
Are generally male consumers, who frequently play online games, download movies and music, and watch TV online. This audience represents 9 percent of the global sample.
Place emphasis on social interaction – they require instant access to friends, regardless of time or place. Fifteen percent of consumers surveyed reported they frequently maintain and update social networking sites, add labels or tags to online photos, and view videos from other users.
Thirty-five percent of those surveyed take a more advanced approach to media consumption by using mobile devices and smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.