Forrester Technographics Benchmark Survey: Gen Y a Generation Apart

July 21, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Television | Youth & Gen X

Although Gen Y (those 18-28 years old) is a small generation, comprising just 38 million US adults, they set the pace for technology adoption – 9 in 10 own a PC and 82% own a mobile phone – according to Forrester Research’s 2008 North American Technographics Benchmark survey.

But what sets Gen Y apart is its technology use, a generational analysis of the survey results, “The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008,” found.

Gen Y spends more time online – for leisure or work – than watching TV; 72% of Gen Y mobile phone owners send or receive text messages; 42% of online Gen Yers watch internet video at least monthly.


In contrast, Gen X, which comprises 29-42-year-olds (or 63 million US adults) uses technology when it intersects with a personal need or fulfills a desire, according to Forrester.

For example, 32% of Gen X households own an HDTV, and 29% have a DVR. In the past three months, 69% of online Gen Xers shopped online and 65% banked online, higher percentages than any other generation.

Gen X is also ramping up its internet and mobile activities, including reading blogs (21% of online Gen Xers do it at least monthly, up from 15% in 2007) and texting (61% of Gen X mobile subscribers do it today, up from 49% in 2007).

“Gen Y is the audience that most companies are struggling to understand right now because it’s key to their future revenue growth,” said Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

“One of the questions we’re asked most frequently is the difference between Gen Y and Gen X, and this year’s data clearly shows the distinction. Gen Xers use technology when it supports a lifestyle need, while technology is so deeply embedded into everything Gen Yers do that they are truly the first native online population.”

About the data: The North American Technographics Benchmark survey is Forrester’s largest annual data set about consumers’ technology adoption and attitudes, based on a mail survey of nearly 61,000 consumers representing 53,000 households in the US and Canada. The 11th annual Benchmark includes responses to more than 100 questions covering 1,500 elements and more than 450 brands.

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