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Digital technology has changed the way we live – how we communicate, socialise and purchase are all radically different to a decade ago. But what of the next decade? What will our digital lives be like in 2020? Having been born into a digital world, ‘digital natives’ have radically different behaviours to everyone else and in 10 years time, this group will account for 50% of the population. In the last few years, digital natives have only just begun to be economically active and therefore the pace of change is set to increase significantly.

The pace of digital change over the last 5 years has already increased significantly, with social networking, mobile web, smartphones and now tablet computing changing how we consume information and socialise. Yet, we are only just beginning to be able to imagine a world in which everyone and everything is online. Change in the next decade will be exponential.

This major new project will set out the generational change that ‘digital natives’ will bring, exploring in detail their expectations and behaviours.


All funding partners can input into the objectives and provide specific questions. All have the opportunity to input into the design of the research at every stage.

1. Set out the expectations and behaviours of digital natives (those aged 25 and under);

· Explore the differences in digital behaviour within the age group, identifying sub-segments within under-12s, 12-15, 16-18 and 18+.

· How are new technologies - tablet computing, gaming, social networking etc – changing the way this group behave?

· How significant is mobile technology in determining the way they live and expect to socialise, communicate and purchase?

2. Explain how social media is used and the influence it has within this age group;

· What role does social media have in defining someone’s identify and what they stand for? Explain the importance of identity and self-promotion in a digital world and how it affects the way people socialise and communicate.

· Does social networking increase the sense of connectedness for this age group? Do they feel more or less anonymous as a result? To what extent do they desire anonymity?

· With so much information being made public through social networking sites, what are the implications on an individual’s public and private lives? How significant is the ‘blurring’ of public and private for this generation?

· To what extent are digital natives concerned with notions of ‘privacy’ of their personal information?

· What, if any, are the consequences of the re-defining of the notions of ‘public’ and ‘private’ in a digital world?

3. Explain the roles that online media, mobile devices and social networking have on purchasing decisions for digital natives;

· Which information is most trusted when making purchasing decisions? What role does online and offline have when choosing what to buy? How are mobile devices and social media used?

· How is personal information used and exchanged for the benefit of the individual? Is personal information seen as a ‘currency of exchange’ in an online world?

4. Explain the generational differences between digital natives and the rest of the population (see Digital Selves study) and predict the pace of future change;

· Compare and contrast the main differences in behaviour with the rest of the population.

· Within the digital natives generation, mark out the significant differences in behaviour between different age groups. Set out the key demarcations and explain the significance of these for the pace of change.

· What will the world look like in 5 years and 10 years time, when digital natives account for 50% of the population? What impact will they have on the way we work, socialise and communicate?

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