Generations and Technology: How Age Plays A Role in the Way We Use the Internet

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For the next 15 weeks, I will be posting blogs with topics assigned to me by my MKT 402 consumer behavior instructor Nancy Gray. I am a senior attending the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University earning a B.S. in Marketing. I will graduate in mid-May. Currently, I work for a digital advertising and marketing agency in Tempe, AZ called Lucid Agency. Connect and contact me via LinkedIn.

As per my consumer behavior instructor’s request, I visited a public place where I knew I could observe multiple generations of people using the Internet in their natural environment – Starbucks. I had to drive to one farther away from my home because I live so close to campus and I did not want my test population to be overrun with college students. Once I found a different location, I ordered my usual drink (an iced chai tea latte) and picked a seat inside next to a cluster of computer users. To my surprise, most users were older than me.

One man, who looked to be in his early thirties, sat browsing Amazon for technology equipment. Another man, appearing in his late forties, chatted quietly with a business associate while he used his computer for professional purposes. There was a table of two young women (both who looked slightly older than me) wearing athletic clothing sitting with a girl under the age of ten by the window. While the women were busy in conversation, the young girl played a popular game with an iPad known as Minecraft. As I watched her play, I wondered to myself whether this iPad belonged to her or to her mother. A college kid or two walked in to work on some homework or enjoy the free Wi-Fi, visiting common social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I did notice that younger men typically visited Twitter more often than the young women did.

Although this assignment reminded me that people use the Internet differently, most of my test population used it for work and enjoyment, with a couple using it for shopping. Tune-in to my blog next week to learn about the latest trends in consumer behavior and marketing!

Image: Anita Hart