Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who is the REAL Generation C? Nielsen's "US Digital Consumer Report"

I wouldn't be the first person to say that technology is moving so fast that we're all perpetually out of date with the cutting edge.  That's particularly true for studies about our technological society.   A report released today,  Nielsen and NM Incite’s U.S. Digital Consumer Report, offers some eye-opening statistics about the current (or recent) state of the social media landscape.  One of the report's most prominent findings is that Americans 18-34, which the report calls "Generation C" (for connected) are the greatest consumers of online content, from video, to social networking to blogging.

Some of the overall findings shouldn't be any surprise - the number of Americans with Internet access has doubled since 2000, to approximately 274 million. 64% of mobile phone time is spent on apps.  42% percent of tablet owners use them at the same as they watch television.  Except for tablets,  males and females are both well represented across social media devices (males currently use tablets to a greater extent).

58.8 percent of "Generation C" access social media through their mobile phones (versus 36.3% of the 35-54 year olds (in other words, they're on constantly).

The graphic-based report is a worthwhile read -  entrepreneurs and content creators will undoubtedly find it useful and thought provoking.  I wonder, though, if some of the stats don't reflect the immediate present.    In a section entitled, "An in-depth Look at the Digital Consumer," most stats show 13-17 year-olds to be near the bottom of the scale in several categories, including online video viewers (14% of the audience) and social network/blog visitors (13%).  

I suspect that the actual percentages of 13-17 year-old digital consumers may be considerably higher (though will naturally be somewhat restrained by practicalities of school and finances).  In fact, I believe that their numbers likely rival those of the 18-34 year-olds.  As the first group born into the age of socail media, they may, in fact, be the true "Generation C" -  savvy users, consumers and creators of digital content.

As always, I welcome and encourage your comments!


  1. What about us old timers then Rich? I do sometimes feel that we get left out of a lot of these studies, as they seem to concentrate on the younger generation.

  2. Good point. Though nothing is being emphasized in their own promotional efforts, the report states that people 50-64 consistant range at about 20% of all online users, across all categories surveyed - online video viewing, social networking/blogs, tablet owners, smartphone owners - and tv viewers, for that matter. With 274.2 million internet users, that would come out to 54.8 million - not bad, if you ask me...

  3. I'm with Andy here... This study shows that younger folks are *currently* the largest users of online content, but last year, Pew's report showed that senior women were the fastest growing group.

    The grandmas may not be doing it on iPhones, where this connectivity study focuses, but they are more and more likely to be on facebook (etc) to keep in touch with far-flung family and friends. It's an audience that content creators ignore at their own peril.