A new report launched by EY today dispels some of the stereotypes surrounding the ways different generations purchase, use and interact with Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) products and services. According to the report, which is based on a survey of 2,500 UK consumers split equally four ways between Gen Z, Gen Y/Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers, 58 per cent of Gen Z respondents go in-store to buy a new phone tariff, the highest of any segment, with Gen X (43 per cent) the lowest.
In addition, 25 per cent of Gen Z respondents go to a store to buy a new device, also the highest of any segment. And, 45 per cent of Gen Z said they would never purchase a phone without viewing it in person, markedly higher than their nearest age group, Gen Y (35 per cent) but behind the baby boomers (51 per cent), proving that the virtual generation still crave a physical in-store experience.
Gen Y have the itchiest feet
Gen Y or Millennials are the most likely generation to switch TMT service provider and explore their options according to the survey. Nearly half (47 per cent) of Gen Y respondents have changed a TMT service provider in the past three years due to customer service, well above the cross generational average of 35 per cent, with Baby Boomers the most loyal (27 per cent). In addition, 26 per cent change TV provider at least every two years, compared to the overall average of 21 per cent.
Furthermore, three in five (62 per cent) consumers overall have switched mobile operator in the last five years, and the frequency of ‘ditching and switching’ only increases with younger consumers. A third of both Gen Z and Gen Y respondents (33 per cent) have changed their phone tariff provider, two to three times in the last five years, with one in 12 Gen Y respondents (eight per cent) switching over four times, almost once a year. This is in stark contrast with older generations, over half of Baby Boomers (52 per cent) have not changed their phone tariff provider in the last five years, and the same is true for 41 per cent of Gen X.
Rahul Gautam, TMT leader at EY said: “Each generation is known for their distinct characteristics, but our survey shows that the differences are more nuanced. For example, despite the death knells being regularly sounded, the high street still plays an important role in purchasing, particularly for the youngest and oldest generations of consumers.
“By tracking different generations through every stage of the customer journey we find that each has distinct requirements, sweet spots and pain points.
“By understanding these better and adapting services to suit, TMT providers can not only create happy customers, but more valuable ones too.”
Gen X are the digital masters
Gen X are the biggest users of smartphones (85 per cent, compared to 78 per cent overall) and fibre optic broadband (53 per cent, compared to 46 per cent overall). They are also the generation that’s most reliant on multiple devices. They are also the most anti-store when it comes to device and mobile phone tariff purchases, preferring to shop online. This is reflected in their reliance on price comparison websites in contrast to Gen Z who are the least likely to be swayed by a price-based promotion.
Baby Boomers have the shortest fuse
When it comes to service, Baby Boomers are the most likely to be most aggrieved by long hold times on customer service lines (82 per cent compared to an overall average of 66 per cent). In addition, 65 per cent of them get upset about slow customer service personnel compared to an overall average of 53 per cent. They are also the most likely to be annoyed by unexpected price hikes (64 per cent compared to overall average of 59 per cent). However, they are also the most loyal customers across the generations and are far less likely to switch providers than their flightier younger peers.
Martyn Whistler, global lead analyst for media and entertainment at EY said: “With the ability to compare tariffs and prices at the click of a button, consumers are becoming far less loyal to their TMT service providers, particularly when it comes to phone and TV contracts. Where providers fail to meet the customer service expectations for younger consumers in particular, loyalty decreases significantly.
“As our survey demonstrates, customer engagement is key to being successful. And, as expectations rise and competition intensifies, it’s imperative for providers to best understand their customer drivers and behaviours.”