Each generation uses digital differently to consume content and shop for products and services, and marketers need to understand these differences to target their desired audiences on the devices they are most likely to be using.
Millward Brown Digital surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in three generations (millennials, born after 1980; Generation X, born 1965-1980; and boomers, born from 1946-1964) to see how different age groups favored different screens for various activities.
"What the data demonstrates is that even with our advanced knowledge of digital today, advertisers and marketers can't make assumptions about how various demographics and targets are using digital devices and mobile to access content," said Joline McGoldrick, research director at Millward Brown Digital. "It is easy to stereotype and say the best way to reach millennials is on mobile, but that is not always true. As the analysis shows, device usage varies from generation to generation based upon what the activity is. There needs to be a more granular understanding of how activity and type of content dictates preferences for screen usage in order to make a truly effective and efficient marketing strategy."
The study found that consumers still rely heavily on the laptop/PC for shopping across categories. Millennials are the first generation to push the envelope on mobile shopping, but still reach for their laptops for some categories depending on the amount of time needed and the importance of the task, the study noted.
This has implications for marketers, the study said: "Before you put all of your eggs in the mobile basket, consider how your consumers engage with your category and optimize accordingly."
UPDATE: This infographic has been updated to clarify the data represents devices owned and accessible.