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Future of Work

A Global study maps unique digital DNA of teens as they become the next generation of paying customers

Amdocs, the leading provider of customer experience solutions, today announced the results of a global study1 into the digital DNA, behaviour and expectations of today’s teenagers (aged 15-18 years old). The study reveals a fragile relationship between communications service providers (CSPs) and teens, and the role digital technology will play in the lives of a generation who see their future as digital beings as much as human beings.

According to the study, only 12 percent of teenagers feel service providers understand their lifestyle and offer services to match it. 30 percent report experiencing bad customer service from their CSP over the past year, and 46 percent say they will not use that CSP again. A third of respondents then shared this information with families and friends.

The study, commissioned by Amdocs, was conducted by Vanson Bourne, a technology market researcher provider, and advised by leading generational expert and sociologist Dr. Paul Redmond.

  • A majority (73%) would like to have an internet-connected device embedded in their arm
  • A third of teenagers have never handwritten a letter
  • Nearly half (48%) strongly believe fast internet access should be a Human Right
  • Teens mistake Facebook (38%), WhatsApp (42%) and Apple (38%) for telecom operators
  • Nearly one third (24% globally) believe a robot will be their best mate
  • 37% of 15-18 year olds surveyed aspire to be the next Bill Gates

Additional key findings unveiling teens’ unique digital DNA and what services they want:

  • Digital is the lens through which teens view themselves and others: 43 percent believe their smartphone makes them smarter and “cooler”; 52 percent check their social media accounts first thing in the morning; over 30 percent say they would probably not meet someone again if they lacked a Facebook or WhatsApp account.
  • Emojis are worth a thousand words: Almost half of respondents say they prefer using emojis (47%) and posting photos (45%) to sending emails as emojis express how they feel more clearly than words.
  • Internet connectivity is teens’ most vital sixth sense: Teens require constant Internet connectivity, with respondents saying they are more likely to feel anxious and alone if separated from the Internet (56 percent) than when separated from their family (52 percent). The value of Internet access is so significant that the majority (55 percent) strongly believe fast Internet access to be a human right.
  • Free content streaming is a way of life: A majority stream movies (53 percent streaming; 17 percent downloading), TV (51 percent versus 11 percent) and music (47 percent versus 29 percent); and they are typically doing so for free with less than a third saying they ever pay for any content.
  • Teens perceive content and app providers as “service providers” and love them more: Although 82 percent know who their service provider is, they perceive over-the-top (OTT) players and internet giants, including Google (51 percent), Facebook (38 percent), WhatsApp (42 percent) and Apple (38 percent) as CSPs, when they are not. However, when asked which companies they love, teens rank Google first at 60 percent (Facebook: 48 percent; WhatsApp: 42 percent) while only 36 percent said they loved their CSP.
  • Teens want technology to allow them to design their own experiences: 54 percent want interactive services that offer design options they can play with; 59 percent expect to be offered 3D printing technology to create their tech accessories and 55 percent expect to be able to visit new countries using virtual reality. Teenagers’ connection to technology is so strong that 66 percent say they would want to be Bill Gates when they grow up, more than a YouTube star (50 percent) or a pop star (38 percent).
  • Teens expect future technology to allow them to become digital beings as much as human beings: 78 percent would like to have an Internet-connected device embedded in their arm, with 38 percent seeing it replacing their smartphone; 66 percent believe many jobs will be taken by robots, 24 percent even believe a robot will become their best friend.

“It’s fascinating how ‘digital’ is defining how teens are viewing both themselves and others, how they express themselves, how they learn,” said Dr. Paul Redmond. “They require constant access and connectivity, and consume content differently than older generations. This is a ‘free content’ generation who love streaming and have no need for ownership, calling upon service providers to look into new business models that can improve teen affinity to their brands.”

“It’s striking that half of teens today already have a firm opinion as to which service provider they will not use once they have to start paying their own bills,” said Chris Williams , head of global marketing for Amdocs.

“But we cannot disregard the immediate teen impact on a service provider’s business and brand perception given their influence on paying parents and wide reaching audiences through their prolific use of social media. With digital so integral to teen life the need to transition to a digital service provider is immediate.

“Service providers must act now to establish and build teen affinity, adopting a multi-channel engagement strategy and exploring new monetization models to address the demand for free content. Whether or not service providers will succeed in this will determine their ability to remain central and relevant in future societies and economies.”

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