5 ways millennials' tech habits differ from older generations

The gaps between how the young and old(er) are using technology are, in some cases, vast, a new report from the Media Technology Monitor suggests.

Survey finds gaps between how millennials, older generations use technology

Toronto resident Dani Winters poses as he takes a selfie with a new iPhone at the iPhone 6 launch at the Eaton Centre's Apple Store. A Media Technology Monitor report suggests millennials, those aged 18 to 34, are using technology differently than older generations. (Ryan Emberley/Associated Press)

It's not surprising that young Canadians are seen to be more plugged into digital trends than older consumers.

But a new report from the Media Technology Monitor suggests the gaps between how the young and old(er) are using technology are, in some cases, vast.

The research is based on telephone surveys with 6,011 anglophones conducted in the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014. Overall, the survey results are considered accurate within 1.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20, while the numbers for the so-called millennial respondents, aged 18 to 34, have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

Have a smartphone? Almost goes without saying

Almost nine in 10 millennials told pollsters they had a smartphone, compared to just 58 per cent of the respondents who were 35 or older.

Among Gen-Y respondents (people in the 25-to-34 demographic) Google's Android narrowly edged out Apple's iOS as the mobile platform of choice, with each favoured by about four in 10 respondents. Just one in 10 said they preferred a BlackBerry.

The Gen-Z consumers (aged 18 to 24) polled had a slight preference for iPhones and were even less likely to carry a BlackBerry. Only six per cent said they did.

About one in five of the older respondents said they had a BlackBerry, one in three had an Android, and most had iPhones.

Millennials more likely to have a tablet, too

Gen-Y consumers were found to be the most likely to own a tablet, with just under half saying they had one (versus 38 per cent of Gen-Z respondents and 43 per cent of older consumers).

Apple's iPad had a dominant hold on the tablet market. Almost two in three tablet owners said they chose an iPad.

Almost every millennial is on social media

Nearly nine in 10 millennials said they used at least one social network in the past month, compared to just over half of the older survey respondents.

Virtually all of them in each age group said they had recently been on Facebook — 99 per cent of the Gen-Y social media users, 97 per cent of the Gen-Z social networkers, and about 93 per cent of the older respondents who said they used social media.

One in three Gen-Z poll respondents said they used Twitter, compared to 28 per cent of the Gen-Yers and 12 per cent of the over-35 group.

Burning through gigs watching online videos

Among the Gen-Z respondents, 93 per cent said they had watched YouTube in the previous month and 63 per cent said they had streamed or downloaded a full-length movie.

The numbers were a little lower for Gen-Y respondents (88 per cent and 48 per cent) and considerably lower for the older respondents (57 per cent and 27 per cent).

Millennials really, really love Netflix

While one in four of the respondents over 35 said they subscribed to Netflix, about four in 10 millennials said they were on the streaming service.

Almost 90 per cent of the millennials who paid for Netflix said they used it every week, compared to 80 per cent of the older subscribers. 16:06ET 28-01-15


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