Generation gap in media habits 'dramatically increasing', IPA says

Correlation between media usage of 16- to 34-year-olds and those over 55 has fallen by more than half since 2015.

IPA: time spent with digital media has risen over past five years
IPA: time spent with digital media has risen over past five years

Brands and agencies must deploy diverse media plans if they are to effectively reach their audiences, the IPA has warned, after it found the gap between the way younger and older generations consume media was "dramatically" increasing.

The trade body’s report, Making Sense: the Commercial Media Landscape, published today (4 February) in partnership with Facebook, found that the correlation between media usage of 16- to 34-year-olds and those over 55 has fallen by more than half since 2015 to 25%.

Meanwhile, the correlation in reach of channels has also fallen from 44% in 2015 to 35% in 2019.

The study found that out-of-home and social media are the two primary channels for 16- to 34-year-olds.

The proportion of time that all adults spend with digital media has risen over the past five years from 42% of all media in 2015 to 50% in 2019. For 16- to 34-year-olds, this has risen from 59% to 73% over the same period.

Adam & Eve/DDB’s group head of effectiveness, Les Binet, who provided analysis on the report, said: "Different age groups now have very different patterns of media consumption and this is likely to persist. Indeed, the great digital transformation probably won’t be complete until the pre-internet generation is dead and buried.

"This makes life more complex for marketers, but it also makes it more interesting. We need to master a wider range of channels now, but we can use them to evoke a wider range of effects."

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