In 2014, the Digital Industry Association for Australia launched the Digital Australian State of the Nation report. It has a lot to say about the digital economy, and how Australians partake in and consume digital activities and products. However, it has also identified seven different types of digital consumers represented in the Australian population, based on their digital use and behavior.
Can you spot yourself in one of the descriptions below?
For digital natives, technology isn’t just a nice thing to have access to; it’s 100% necessary and a constant in their lives. They’re constantly connected and have been familiar with and immersed in technology for as long as they can remember. Having up-to-date technology is a must for them, and they have the knowledge and skills to use and maintain an interwoven variety of devices.
Lifestylers are like a more casual version of the digital native. They have the knowledge and the technology on hand, but they’re less diligent with keeping up with technology then natives. That being said, they’re just as confident and adept using new technology and wouldn’t turn down the newest gadget, if someone offered it to them.
Inadvertents are those who have the technology at hand, but either don’t experience or don’t recognize any positive impact in their lives brought about by said technology. Their knowledge and confidence when using technology is lower than that of lifestylers or natives; however, this doesn’t pose a problem to them as technology is more an optional peripheral rather than a necessity to them.
Cruisers are predominantly smartphone and tablet users. They employ them for personal use, and use a handful of essential or useful apps regularly. For them, technology is a tool used to increase the ease of communication and connection with others, and maintain a social life. Technology may not always have a positive impact for the cruiser as they use it out of necessity rather than desire.
For the connector, technology is ingrained into their life, albeit in a different manner compared to a native. Their reliance on technology is based on a desire to multi-task and connect at a level only afforded by technology such as smartphones. They appreciate the efficiency afforded to them by technology and are high frequency users of it.
Workaholics are users of technology out of necessity and necessity only. They have busy professional lives and this reflects in their work-dominated use of technology. They are adept and confident in a wide range of technologies but the variety of technologies that they use on a day-to-day basis is rather limited to social media and tools like smartphones and tablets. While they understand that overuse of these technologies can lead to negative impacts on their social life, due to the busy nature of their life, they also recognize that technology is sometimes the only way to maintain their social life.
Drifters are the least technologically adept and reliant out of all the demographics. They tend to gravitate towards traditional ways of achieving both work-related and personal goals. This is both out of preference for these ways and an inability to use and engage with many different technologies available to them. They’re worried about the implications of things like Big Data and are hesitant to use the internet for personal purposes.
The good news is that, unlike your star sign, your birthdate doesn’t have to dictate which digital category you fall in to – it’s entirely up to you. While those born in the last two decades have a natural (or should that be native?) digital advantage, that doesn’t mean that their older siblings, parents and even grandparents can’t catch up if they want to.