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Digital natives and their impact

by | 23 Oct, 2016 | Future of Work, Life planning, Online Business | 0 comments

Digital natives tools

Digital Natives – the opportunities and challenges they create

Are you at all familiar with the term “Digital Natives”?

In case you don’t know, digital natives are defined as being people who have spent their entire secondary school education in a country with an internet adoption rate of at least 50 percent.

So, who are we talking about? The first generation of Digital natives was born in the 1980s, and are now in their 30s.  And, obviously in the same category there is the ‘after Google” generation (Google was founded in 1997) – this group is now 18 or 19 years old.

One of the key characteristics of this group is that for them there is no difference between the online and offline worlds. The online world ‘just is’.  Being continually connected is as natural as breathing.

In this post I’m exploring just some of the challenges and opportunities that this group of people creates as a result of their continual connection with the digital world.

Size of the Digital Natives Generations

In a report written for global banking giant HSBC, economist James Pomeroy explains that there are currently 430 million “digital natives” in the world – which represents approximately 9% of the world’s population.

The number of digital natives is predicted to rise to 2.3 billion people by the year 2030. This represents a rise from 9% to around 30% of the world’s population. By the year 2050 this figure will be 50% of the world population.

So What?

So, there are obviously a LOT of people using the internet today, and there will be LOTS MORE people engaging online in the future.

What’s this got to do with digital natives?

“Digital natives consume differently” says Pomeroy. “They are more likely to adopt disruptive technologies, but are less likely to watch television, or drive cars.”

Now, let’s think for a moment about the accelerating advent of disruption businesses and technologies which are evolving in response to advances in digital technologies.

And….. because doing business online is a quicker, smarter, more cost effective way, and has way more market reach than traditional bricks and mortar businesses.

Following is a very short list of things that have happened so far – the tiniest tip of the iceberg:

  • Smartphones have replaced cameras; your phone will do nicely, unless you are a very, very serious photographer.
  • Credit cards (and cash) will be/are becoming a thing of the past because our banks are enabling us to use tap and pay from our smartphone to pay for purchases.
  • Uber of course is well known around the world, replacing the traditional taxi business. But have you heard about Uber Eats and other similar businesses that deliver restaurant quality food, ready to eat, to your door?  Download the app, enter your address and away you go – order when ready!
  • Airbnb – what more can be said? Gradually putting a lot of expensive accommodation and hospitality businesses, out of business.
  • And, just as we have got used to the idea that online shopping is the way we can do much of our shopping, this means a boom in delivery businesses. Naturally disruption technology is here as well….things like parcel delivery by drones.

Five years ago, two years ago even, some of those things were unheard of. Now, we accept them as being a part of everyday life.

And the changes will just keep coming…..rapidly!!

Digital Natives – The impact on the world of shopping/retailing

To get just the tiniest glimpse of the scale of change that has taken place, and will continue to take in terms of the shopping world and why virtually all forms of traditional retailing are rapidly becoming redundant…..you simply must watch this video.

One line from the video talking about the digital native consumer:

“Digital is who they are…..not how they shop!”

Picture of nanotechnology professor with lookalike robot - digital natives

Picture: David Kelly

Robotics lecturer replaces himself!

Robotics and nanotechnology are not really news anymore, except that it will be more pervasive in its impact on traditional employment.

How about the guy in the picture here? Robotics engineer Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro creates robots that look like, sound like and act like human beings.

He even created a robot copy of himself so that it could give lectures and presentations on his behalf.

This is just a tiny glimpse of what robotics and nanotechnology can/will do to many traditional forms of employment.

How do you feel about these kinds of changes – excited, or threatened?

Faced with what sometimes seems the overwhelming pace of change it’s easy just to bury our heads in the sand, and hope that changes happening around us won’t be too disruptive in our own lives.

Some people become paralyzed by the thought of change, others become energised by it.

Whatever your response, you will be affected by it.

There are two possible ways to respond to this new reality:

  1. either ignore what’s happening and hope for the best, or…..
  2. prepare for, and embrace the opportunities that these changes might bring.

I’m quite sure that there is the increasing realisation by many people of the massive opportunity ahead for people who are prepared to act to position themselves to be a service, product or information provider in the online world.

Now……you might not know how to do that….. yet. But you can learn.

Perhaps you haven’t got a clue about how you could be a profitable service or information provider in the online world…..yet. But you could learn.

As previously stated, the number of digital natives is set to explode. They won’t know anything else but to go online looking for information, education, entertainment and they will do much of their shopping there!

Do you think there might just be an opportunity there to cash in……somewhere? And…as a result develop the ability to be able to write your own pay cheque, instead of hoping that your job or career won’t get steamrolled by disruption technologies.

And, let me be clear – I’m not advocating jumping out of what you’re doing now. What I’m advocating is a transition strategy.

So, when/if your job or career is pushed aside, then you’ve at least developed the skills and ability to be a player in the online world, either as an employee, or in your own business.

There are options – have you considered this….?

As previously stated, the number of digital natives is set to explode.

They won’t know anything else but to go online looking for information, education, entertainment and they will do much of their shopping there!
Do you think there might just be an opportunity there to cash in……somewhere? And…as a result develop the ability to be able to write your own pay cheque, instead of hoping that your job or career won’t get steamrolled by disruption technologies.

And, let me be clear – I’m not advocating jumping out of what you’re doing now. What I’m advocating is a transition strategy.

So, when/if your job or career is pushed aside, then you’ve at least developed the skills and ability to be a player in the online world, either as an employee, or in your own business.

Others are already doing this – why not you?

Hundreds and thousands of everyday people have already decided to take action and grab hold of the opportunities that are here now, and that will continue to come.

And do you know how they got started? They decided to learn how to do it.

If these people could learn and develop a whole new set of skills and knowledge to be able to profitably operate online – why not you?

No special talent is required – just the willingness to apply yourself to learning. And your learning will, along the way, help you to discover answers to questions like “How”, “What” and “Where” you can fit in in this amazing new, evolving online world.

If you feel even the teeniest bit excited about the possibilities that lie ahead because of the increasing influence of the Digital Natives generations – just take the first step and click here to make a start on your learning.

Or……would you rather remain threatened and scared?