Young Users: More Mobile Video, More 4G

Carl Weinschenk

Two studies were released this week that do a good job of summing up where things are and where they are going in terms of how younger folks use communications, both at play and at work.

Media Post reports on a J.D. Power and Associates’ study revealing that 29 percent of consumers use handheld devices to watch video. The report said that 39 percent use a laptop or desktop. That’s down 11 percent during the past year. The respective percentages for tablets and phones is 18 percent and 16 percent. That’s an increase of 7 percent for tablets and 2 percent for phones.

The other study is from Nielsen and reports on trends in the 4G sector. The company says what the report on the J.D. Power study hints at: That youngsters are the most likely to be the cutting edge. The company's blog sums it up:

4G wireless service is quickly becoming the new standard in the mobile marketplace, enabling faster consumption of content on the go. New research from Nielsen found that adoption of 4G mobile phones has nearly quadrupled since last year, going from 1.4 percent in Q1 2011 to 7.6 percent in Q1 2012.  Consumers under 34 are most likely to have already adopted 4G and 63 percent of teens are likely to consider switching to 4G within the next year.

Neither report is at all surprising. But the absence of drama doesn't mean that they should not be paid attention to. Of course, telecommunications companies need to pay special attention to the needs of this group. Youngsters always are the most attractive, since it will be in the market the longest. In this case, the kids are using technology in a fundamentally different way than mom and dad.

On the business front, employers need to understand that the people they are hiring will have the characteristics reflected in the studies at work as well as at home. The new reality for employers is well presented in this TechNewsWorld piece:

Millennials shun museum pieces like land lines, conference room calendars, time sheets and "The 6:00 News." Rather, they thrive on instant messaging, Skype and Kinect, social networks and texts. More than any previous generation, they are totally comfortable with talking to strangers and colleagues half a world away -- they probably already are friends on Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) or followers on Twitter.

The piece offers three pieces of advice: Employers must proactively find ways to engage with the young people they hire, they should understand that what motivates Millennials is different than what drove workers in the past and that accountability doesn’t go away — but its face changes.

None of this is unexpected. It’s important to understand, however, that much of what is different about today’s arriving work force is that it is, to a great extent, defined by how it communicates. Indeed, the emergence of modern electronics — which the piece points out was made possible by retiring baby boomers — is what is shaping the Millennial generation. Those workers may look and interact differently than those that came before. But, in the big picture, they only are the next step.

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