If marketers want to reach digital consumers, they need look no further than the newly dubbed Generation C (Connected). Findings from several research shops indicate that 18-34 year-old consumers are going digital at unprecedented levels and in unprecedented ways. This shift has significant implications for marketers as they consider the attitudes of Gen Y which is now more likely to be called Gen C.

The first data point in the U.S. Digital Consumer Report from Nielsen and NM Incite focuses on the mismatch between the total population of 18-34 year-olds and the percentage of digital world that they comprise. About 23% of consumers fall into this age bracket but they make up a much larger portion of the digital population:

  •  As a percentage of those who watch video online 27%
  • Visiting social networking/blogging sites 27%
  • Owning tablets 33%
  • Owning smartphones 39%

Another important finding in this study is that more men (53%) than women (47%) own tablets. In most other digital content categories, women are the larger audience. The only exception is smartphones. For those devices, ownership is equally divided between genders.

Consumers of all ages are spending the largest portion of their online time at social networks/blog sites (21.3%), online games (7.7%), e-mail (6.5%), videos/movies (4.3%) and portals (3.8%). All of these destinations are also valid marketing channels.

Despite all this time spent online, consumers have some trust issues with online advertising. About 52% of consumers trust branded websites and 46% trust TV ads. But the numbers start dropping from there. Only 36% trust ads that show up in search engine results, and just 26% say they trust SMS text ads (27% for video/banner) on mobile devices.

Regardless of these attitudes, the time spent being connected digitally means marketers must impress consumers in that environment.  And, of Generation C, Nielsen analysts say, “the ownership and use of connected devices makes them incredibly unique consumers, representing both a challenge and opportunity for marketers and content providers alike.”

[Source: State of the Media: U.S. Digital Consumer Report. 2012. Nielsen. Web. 21 Mar. 2012]