The communications landscape has been undeniably widened by the advent of new technology in the last three decades. As technology improves and becomes more ubiquitous, consumers have a greater choice of methods to send and receive information. However, it is still unclear how the plethora of new options will affect the communications media mix with respect to mail, as well as the media consumption patterns of future generations.
We have undertaken a thorough review of studies conducted at different points throughout the 20th century that examine: the use of new technology by children; the adoption of computers and the Internet among children and the resultant impact on their time allocation; and predictions about the behavior and characteristics of the GenX and Millennial generations. We also have quantified objectively the “generational effect” to date on mail volumes.
In this paper, we consider the following questions:
· Have past predictions about the use of technology by children as they become adults been borne out by the facts?
· Are age and life stage still the best predictors of media use in general, and mail in particular, or has there been a quantifiable generational shift?
· What predictions are being made today about the future habits of the youngest generations and what can we conclude about their likely use of media, paper and mail?