Generational Differences More Insightful Than Cultural Ones

As business proessionals, we are always looking at better ways to understand our customers and potential customers. We spend a lot of time studying consumer lifestyles and cultures.

With the preceding in mind, let’s consider these observations by Pete Cape (director, global knowledge in the London office of research firm SSI), as reported by Quirk’s Marketing Research Media:

“What’s the woman in this photo doing? If you think she’s dialing a phone number, perhaps you’re a Boomer (and you probably know how to work a rotary phone!). If you said she’s texting, you’re probably from Generation X. If you think she’s uploading a selfie to Instagram, you may be a Millennial – and if you imagine she’s adjusting her home-heating temperature as she leaves the office, you’re perhaps part of the generation to come.”

“The finding from SSI’s recent study of digital citizens in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, and Japan is that differences are more likely to be generational than cultural. Some of these generational differences are large – and also more subtle than stereotypes might suggest. Boomers use smartphones; Gen X still love CDs; Millennials still have PCs. Each generation simply uses this technology at different times and in different quantities.”

“It’s useful to think of Boomers as digital immigrants who had to learn new technologies from scratch because the technologies didn’t exist while they were growing up; Gen X as digital pioneers, who grew up learning to use these technologies; and Millennials as digital natives who didn’t have to learn anything at all – this technology was always just part of their lives.”


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