Smart phones have taken the world by storm. In just a few short years, they went from one of the most expensive novelty tech devices to being an affordable “necessity” for many. But how true is that really? It’s easy to say that it seems like everyone has a cell phone, but how many people actually have smart phones, and how many actually use them to their full potential? Let’s take a look at how three different generations use their mobile devices.
The Baby Boomers
This generation was born between 1946 and 1964, which means they’re now between 51 and 70 years old. Many have retired, while others are preparing for retirement. This group is very likely to still have a landline phone at home that they use to make calls, but many of them have seen the necessity of having a cell phone for emergencies. But do they really use everything a smart phone offers?
The answer is no. The Baby Boomers are most likely to use their mobile devices to make phone calls, and some may have even learned how to text if they have younger family members who have taught them. Overall, though, they aren’t using their devices for email, social media, or mobile gaming. They just want to be able to make a call while they’re traveling or have their phone with them in case they fall.
The GenX’ers are a whole different matter. Born between the 1960s and the early 1980s, they’re young enough to embrace new technology yet old enough to remember the days before computers were a common household item. They’re likely to use their mobile devices for calls, texts, emails, and even some social media and gaming. They’re probably the ones that convinced their Baby Boomer parents to learn to text, and they’re also probably the first to complain when those same parents don’t text back right away!
But Gen X is also a little leery of the smart phone. They love being connected, but at the same time, they’re a little hesitant to let the mobile device take over for their computer or laptop. They may not jump right into mobile banking or making purchases from their phones.
The Millennial generation is the current group of young adults. The time frame isn’t exact, but most consider Millennials to have been born between 1982 and 2004. This is the group that drives the Baby Boomers crazy because they’re always on their mobile devices. They use their phones for everything—texting, social media, games, banking, shopping… you name it, they have an app for it. They probably think the Baby Boomers are very old fashioned and living in the dark ages, while they find GenX’ers lame and behind the times. When a new model of phone comes out, they jump on it.
Of course, these are generalizations—there are Baby Boomers out there addicted to Candy Crush, just like there are a few very rare Millennials who don’t know how to use their phone’s camera. But by and large, these profiles are pretty dead on. Of course, none of this matters if your website is not mobile optimized.