I was born in 1993, which means that my childhood consisted of unceasing technological advancement. I was taught to store information on a floppy disc. Before long I switched to CD’s, then USB drives, and now it’s all stored in a cloud network. Things became obsolete fairly often, in trade for the latest and greatest.
My parents – representatives of Gen X – undeniably recognize the convenience in these advancements and want to take advantage of how easy it can be. They join about 95% of Generation X in owning a cell phone, 60% of which own a smart-phone; 75% that use social media, and 79% that stream or download video at least once a month. 68% access the web several times a day.
It’s obvious that Gen X has the capability and desire for computer literacy, even though it may not come as naturally to them. Quite honestly, Siri has become my father’s new best friend, and he is almost always browsing Facebook. He, like many others, enjoys being able to do things he never thought would be possible, such a speech-to-text, and digital social networking. He also enjoys paying for things online as well.
What gets in his way is wariness and natural ability. He doesn’t know if he can trust new technology, and he didn’t grow up in the world that constantly throws new phones and apps at him every year. This leads him, like many others, to use this technology less than Generation Y and Z. Yet it seems evident that he uses it for the same reasons as Y and Z, no? 70% of Generation X sends/receives texts, 61% use the internet for their news, 65% use computers to manage their photos, and 68% of Gen X go online to make purchases.
The statistics make it clear that Gen X is becoming increasingly computer literate, and willing to take advantage of the opportunities the technological age has to offer. Around 85% of millennials -- specifically those in the age group of 18-24 in the USA – own a smart-phone. 87% of persons aged 18-29 in the USA are on Facebook. 68% of millennials are simply seeking an integrated, seamless purchasing experience, regardless of the channel (online, in-store, etc…). Comparing the numbers, they aren’t too far apart. We’re all using social media, we’re all purchasing online, and we all want a convenient experience. What I assume makes us wary about exclusively offering electronic options to Gen X is consistent with what I’ve noticed about my dad; they may not trust these new modes of communication and payment, or they may not understand how they work. But they do want to trust them, and they want to know how they work as well. Perhaps the best way to create an encompassing solution, fit for both Gen X and newer generations isn’t a desperate attempt to hold onto the obsolete, but rather an effort to form trust in new technologies and elucidate how they work.