Meet the new generation, not the same as the old generation when it comes to use of the Internet and digital devices. They are “Generation C” as in “Connected.” Comprising mostly Millennials with some Generation X spillover, these Americans roughly between the ages of 18 and 34 were born “between the launch of the VCR and the commercialization of the Internet,” according to a new “U.S. Digital Consumer Report” released by Nielsen.
Generation C could easily also be called Generation I, for “Internet.” This age group comprises almost a quarter (23 percent) of the population, “but they represent an outsized portion of consumers watching online video, visiting social networking/blog sites, owning tablets, and using a smartphone,” Nielsen reports.
The digital revolution has had epochal impact. In 2000, 132.2 million had Internet access. In 2011, that number more than doubled to 273 million. In 2005, 6.6 billion minutes were spent on member community sites. In 2009. Social network sites and blogs became the top online destination, and last year 81 billion minutes were spent on them.
Generation C is native to the Internet and have grown up connected to today’s now ubiquitous devices and to each other. For example, among smartphone owners, 39 percent are between 18-34 year-olds, while 33 percent are tablet owners.
In the use of social networks and blogs and in watching online video, they are just edged out by 35-49 year-olds (28 percent vs. 27 percent, and 28 percent vs. 27 percent, respectively). But when it comes to watching TV, Generation C is tied with young viewers ages 2-17 at 23 percent).
According to the study, women are more tuned in, logged on and connected than men. They are more frequent visitors to social network sites and blogs (54 percent vs. 46 percent), watch more videos online (53 percent to 47 percent) and watch more TV (51 percent to 49 percent). But men have the edge as tablet owners (53 percent vs. 47 percent).
The digital revolution as made Americans even more resourceful multi-taskers, Nielsen found. While watching a TV program, 57 percent of tablet and smartphone owners check their email, while 44 percent surf for unrelated information. The same percentage visit social networking sites. The top five websites visited while watching TV are Facebook, YouTube, Zynga, Google Search, and Yahoo! Mail.