Monday, August 8, 2011

Mobile Devices for iGen

Last week my son demonstrated something which I thought was amazing for a 16 months old. Jake was just given the permission to play with the iPad, the device he's been eyeing on for a long long time. He knew exactly where the Home button was, turned on the iPad, slid to unlock screen, swiped to the 3rd page, and tabbed on 'Toy Story' app! Few days later he maneuvered to YouTube and played one of his favourite 'Wheel on the Bus' video!

WOW! (if you search 'baby using iphone' on YouTube, there're actually plenty of examples :)

We've come to accept that millennials adopt technology at a faster rate than other generations. What we don't often talk about is how that's going to shape the generation coming up after the millennials - the iGen. Technology isn't going to skip this generation, it's being handed down right from mother to child.

The chart above is data from an annual survey from Parenting Group, the publisher of Parenting, Babytalk and Parenting.com, and the BlogHer network, and was provided exclusively to AdAgeStat. Across the board, younger moms are passing technology along to their kids at an early age. This is particularly significant for younger moms who are more likely to have more advanced devices themselves.

The study also found that nearly three-quarters of moms with internet access can't go a day without it. One in four report letting their kids use a mobile phone by age 2. Interestingly AdAgeStat wondered when the ability to hit the Home button, swipe to unlock and find an app would become a recognized developmental milestone - maybe somewhere between walking and multi-word sentences. That's exactly the stage Jake is at!

In a survey conducted by TNS in Hong Kong recently, over half of the consumers surveyed are likely to purchase a tablet in 2011 - nearly six times the global average - and 17% already owns one. Hong Kong is in the forefront of tablet sales, compared to other markets globally where only 3% own a tablet with only 15% expressing the intention of purchasing one in 2011. In a human observation study conducted by myself in Hong Kong recently, Tablets such as iPads and Smartphones such as iPhones are the major baby/toddler comforters used in public, especially during meal times!

Imagine now the iGen, who have had an iPhone in hand and computer on their laps since they were old enough to sit up - and have never had to wait for a picture to develop. Technology is a fundamental and digital is native to them.

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