Gartner Blog Network


Are You Preparing For the Future When Millennials Become Digital Octogenarians?

by Peter Sondergaard  |  September 14, 2015  |  Comments Off on Are You Preparing For the Future When Millennials Become Digital Octogenarians?

My sons are 10 and 19, which would put them at the trailing end of the millennial generation. They are the target of most start-ups in the technology space, maniacally debated in the press and presumed by most CxOs to be the primary target of their transformative digital strategies to drive growth. But all this focus on the needs of the millennial generation today means we’re overlooking what they will need in the future.

Those aged between 10 and 36 years old will shrink as a percentage of the total global population over the next 80 years. This means that the generation following the millennials will become a minority, thereby less influential on defining technology and business strategies. Their experience will clearly be different, growing up with a mobile, cloud-based application environment, content available everywhere and personal security being virtual concepts. But the main point is there will be fewer of them, which means less of an opportunity for technology companies in the future. Put simply, if you’re a CEO who is following the money into new markets, it won’t be among the new generation because it’ll be smaller; it will be with the millennial generation as they grow older.

From Mobile to Mobility

Millenials will continue to dominate in terms of size of population, but their perspective on what they need from technology will change. They will be the first generation growing up in a digital industrial economy with expectations of how technology can integrate into every aspect of life. As they grow older, they will seek technology solutions to the new challenges they face, everything from deteriorating eye-sight, dexterity and mobility.

Across the globe there are laws, business initiatives and technology innovations focused on disabilities. But as the global population ages, the millennials will drive changes in technology in terms of redesign of interfaces, make smart technologies that assist an ageing population central to business strategies, and drive new innovations that will support a broader definition of disabilities.

For example, think of the current design of your smartphone interface and apps. They are designed for a young generation. Think about the current fascination with driverless cars. When a large technology dependent generation turns eighty, this fascination will become a practical necessity.

As we’ll discuss at the upcoming Gartner Symposium/ITxpo conferences around the world, CEOs should actively consider the needs of their most important marketplace, the future digital octogenarians, now. For now, ageing is something we all have to plan for and those CEOs playing the long game will develop digital strategies that incorporate the ageing millennial global population today.

Category: symposium  trends-predictions  

Peter Sondergaard
Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research
25 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Peter Sondergaard is a senior vice president in Gartner, where he is the global head of Gartner Research. Mr. Sondergaard is responsible for people management and the direction of the global research organization, which includes Semiconductors, IT Infrastructure and Operations, Communications, Software and Services Management, Business of IT, Research Operations Management, and IT provider and end-user organizational roles.




Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.