Raymond Morin
November 17, 2016

Generation C: The Growing Influence Of Connected Consumers

This is part one of a two part series. This part recaps the the growing influence of Generation C – the Connected Consumers. Part two will look to future trends….

The Demographic Impact of Generations in Recent Years

In recent years, the impact of connected consumers manifested itself more than ever through social networks. In the US, baby boomers, who clung to positions of control for so long, have finally decided to retire (+/- 75 million people). They yielded the reins to the Gen X’ers (+/- 56 million individuals), who waited so patiently in the wings.

Meanwhile, Gen Y has become the largest generation, with +/- 77 million young people, or nearly 24% of the population (according to the US Census Bureau). Along with Gen Z (+/- 65 million individuals), who began to enter the labor market in 2014, the new combined digital generation will represent over 140 million people by 2020. Worldwide, there are already 2 billion people in the digital generation – more than a quarter of the overall population

The Economic Influence of Connected Consumers

In this context, the “Digital Natives”, also called “Millennials”, have obviously become a desirable attraction in the new chessboard of online commerce. Together, they currently spend more than US$600 billion (according to a recent study by Standard and Poor’s). And it is expected that online shopping by people under-35 will reach more than US$1.5 trillion in three years.

However, the new generations are no longer the only groups of connected consumers in the sights of brands and businesses. In 2015-2016, consumers of Generation X have definitely caught the younger generation in web usage and social media. And retiring boomers are also easily integrating the new technologies in their daily lives. The learning gap between the new generations (Y and Z), and “Digital Immigrants” (X and Boomers), has gradually faded.

Other Spheres of Influence of Generation C to explore

Consumers (or Prosumers) from Generation C, will not only affect online business and the global economy. Their impact on our society includes major impacts in other areas. For a more complete view of their influence, you would need to look at their sociological and cultural aspects, and study how new generations of connected consumers are now starting to influence the political agenda.

Better understanding what the future holds in the era of Generation C also requires examination of how these generations bring new ways to learn and process information, and further analyze how new technologies – the Web and social media are changing the relational framework. With the arrival of the first children of the new generation ALPHA (born after 2013), we will continue to observe how each of the generations of consumers evolves in this new ecosystem.

This is what I propose with a new series of articles on different generations of consumers online, that you can follow here on Curatti. It will also be looked into in great detail in my new book, which will be updated and translated into English in Spring 2017.

12 Online Consumers Trends to keep your eyes on …

Since I became a regular contributor to Curatti (two years as of last August), I have shared with you my observations on the growing influence of connected consumers. These have mostly encompassed the generations for baby boomers to the new Generation Z. Last February, after two years and twenty blog posts on Generation C topics, I published a first assessment of the trends I have observed since the beginning: Generation C – The 12 Online Consumer Trends in 2016. More recently, one of my articles published on Curatti in July 2015: Towards a New Baby Boom With Generation Z was used by Elections Alberta for a teaching resource for Grade 12/Senior High students on the website Building Future Voters.

(To browse all of my articles, click here)

What we see today in the US and elsewhere, through various studies, reflects the impact of the various generations of “Prosumers” on businesses and organizations from here and around the world.

In Part Two of this article, I delve into the 12 trends of connected consumers – from boomers to new generations of “Digital Natives”. And I will keep watching, and reporting on trends in the coming years. So stay tuned!

Click here to read about these 12 trends:

  1. Consumers do not trust companies and organizations
  2. Brands and organizations must adopt a less intrusive approach
  3. The connected consumers are demanding greater corporate transparency
  4. User-generated content become the main source of information, and threaten traditional media
  5. Data users must enable a personalized experience
  6. The popularity of exchange platforms creates a new generation of young influencers
  7. Fake representations and false recommendations are better controlled
  8. The economic situation favors a strong increase in independent entrepreneurship
  9. Work environments must accelerate their transformation
  10. Generation X become the first generation of “Hi-Tech” parents and grandparents
  11. Alternative economy giants are more strictly legislated
  12. The “Fintech” threaten the banking system economic


Over to you

What have you observed with regards to online consumer trends in recent years? What do you foresee as trends to watch in the coming years? Share your thoughts and comments with our readers.


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Raymond Morin

SMO Senior Consultant, Author/Blogger and Speaker at Virage 2.0
Strategic analyst / consultant for over 20 years, specializing in optimizing Web marketing / social media for businesses and organizations, Raymond Morin is also the author of three reference guides (in French), and co-author of three other books about digital marketing, public relations and human resources management. A recognized professional blogger, in both languages, he regularly presents and facilitates conferences for organizations, as well as in-house training workshops. In English, he contributes monthly to various platforms of professional bloggers and social media influencers. His next book, Generation C - Confluence Marketing at the Era of Connected Consumers, will be published next fall on Friesen Press Publishing.