I went on to Facebook in 2008 to check up what people could see about my aspiring 17-year-old daughter who wanted to be a doctor. That was when the deluge started –the year after I joined, Facebook went from 100 million to 300 million members. That same daughter is now 26, and is part of the millennial generation, who surprisingly, at first sight, are dropping behind the younger Generation Z in driving technology adoption.
This year’s CONTEXT Smart Home survey has thrown up a fascinating insight – the real Facebook generation, the 18-24 year olds, those who have grown up and lived on social media since their earliest ability to have a Facebook account, are in the driving seat of new technology. Older millennials on the other hand, the 25-34 year olds, are slowing down.
A dramatic increase in intention to buy smart home compared to last year jumps out from the survey results. The question “how much would you spend?” was addressed to those who said they would purchase smart home products in the next 12 months. The Facebook generation are the leaders, taking over from millennials, who have cut back.
n=4,500 respondents to CONTEXT Smart Home survey, May 2017
Measures those who said they would spend budget as % of total age-group surveyed.
The results are even more dramatic in the next tranche of budget, where the 18-24 year olds have more than tripled their intention to spend, and again overtaken the older millennials.
This trend is a lot about the place of technology in this age group – it is an indispensable and non-negotiable part of their budget. As one of my younger colleagues said to me “do not underestimate how much we are prepared to spend on technology.”
Curious to find out more about this trend, we analysed which age-group is most keen to buy the smart lightbulb category, one of the iconic products in the emerging smart home range.
The results showed that in 5 of the 9 countries – France, Turkey, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK – there was strong over-indexation of the 18-24 age-group. The over-indexation in the older millennial age-range was significant in the UK but in no other country. The other trend of note is the importance of the older generation in Germany which is over-indexed in both the 55-64 and the 65+ age range.
What does this mean for the technology industry?
- Capturing the budget of the 18-24 year olds (and younger) should be a top priority
- Marketing of the entry-level Smart Home products has to be strongly focused on social media and other such means to capture these young people’s budgets.
- It is time to wake up to the importance of social media as a means of shopping. In December 2016 we surveyed 42 retailers across EMEA, and one of the stand-out findings was how few have developed shopping through social media – only 12.9% offered buy on social media and ship to home; 6.5% offered buy on social media and collect in store
Lastly, let’s not forget that social media does not mean Facebook alone – the very fact that people like me joined Facebook, drove many young people away and into their own space – you can find them on Snapchat, Instagram and best of all (but advert-less) whatsapp!