Ed’s note: Which generation is the most tech-savvy?


Just how much of an impact do generational divisions have on digital engagement? Are some generations more open to digital than others? And if so, which generation? The answer may surprise you.

As the energy/utility sector becomes more digitalised, and technology becomes the default interface for queries and customer engagement, and apps are the first port of call, which generation is the most open to this new dynamic? In the run-up to the next edition of Smart Energy International (our bumper European Utility Week edition), we have been exploring some of these questions.

According to research by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative, those aged between 38 and 54, are the most digitally-engaged generation – with more than 80% of the market using digital and telephonic communications. In-person contact is less-preferred, though still more popular than with Baby Boomers (55-74), or the Greatest Generation (75+).

Those aged 55 to 74 are tech-engaged, and the use of digital communications is common, with 75% of this market communicating digitally via home, work, or mobile-based technology. Telephonic communication also ranks favourably, but in-person contact is less-preferred compared to both Millennials and Gen-Xers. 

I must admit, I was surprised when I read the results, as I’d have thought the generations which grew up actively engaged ‘one-on-one’ would be those most interested in continuing the trend, and those who grew up as digital natives, would be happy to continue as they always have.  Assumptions huh! They can lead to all sorts of trouble. So it turns out, our millennials are the ones most wanting ‘in-person’ contact and despite the fact that they are digital natives, they are wanting more than just an application to engage with.  But what else do they want?

Research released by 383, a customer engagement agency, reveals some of these desires.

Respondents across all age groups demonstrated that access to clear and concise information would stop them from switching to a new supplier, with an average of 1 in 5 saying that getting this fundamental service right would encourage them to stay: 18-24 year olds (21%); 25-34 year olds (23%); 35-44 year olds (20%); 45-54 year olds (21%); 55+ year olds (25%).  

Don’t discount the cool applications and ability to manage utilities on the go – these are still important to the Millennials and gen-z’s – but more than anything, they want accuracy of information, with shorter-term wins and tangible rewards like vouchers for shopping.

Would you have predicted the ages of the digitally and tech-engaged generations? Or that, at the end of the day, the fundamental of good service and clarity on what you pay for is still an overriding consideration – often more so than saving money?

As with anything to do with consumers and humans in general, the results are sometimes contradictory, sometimes straight forward, but always, always interesting. 

We are exploring this in our next edition, along with a myriad of groundbreaking research being undertaken by the European Union, interviews with the #EUW19 speakers and an examination of the role of gas in Europe’s future. Additionally, we ask questions around the future of data and analytics, smart metering and cybersecurity. There is still time to add your unique voice to the amazing collaboration that is our next edition – but time is running out, so don’t delay in getting in touch with our commercial manager, Errol Bryce.

Did you know that we are also offering amazing on-site promotion opportunities and have a commercial video schedule?

Chat to Errol if you want to take your company’s promotion at European Utility Week and boost it into the stratosphere.

Wishing you a week in which your assumptions are challenged