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The ‘Application Generation’ and six things every application owner must know about them

Last updated on December 21st, 2023 at 03:22 pm

Joe Byrne, CTO Advisor, Cisco AppDynamics 

As the digital revolution rages on, the way people interact with digital services and applications continues to change. A new generation has come of age – young people who are more discerning about applications and who use digital services in increasingly sophisticated ways.

The latest research from Cisco, The App Attention Index 2023: Beware the Application Generation, spotlights the emerging ‘Application Generation.’ The global research details a cohort of consumers ages 18 to 34 who demand only the very best digital experiences and who will punish brands who fall short of their expectations. So, who exactly are the Application Generation, and how can brands best cater to their needs? Here are six key takeaways from the research:

1. Applications and digital services are central to their lives

Across the board, the use of applications and digital services remains above pre-pandemic levels. People of all ages rely on digital tools to do everything from ordering groceries and streaming entertainment to working from home and even accessing public services. However, the Application Generation are more deeply immersed in the digital world than any other age group. On average, those ages 18 to 34 use no less than 41 applications every month, compared to 30 for those older than 35.

2. Bad digital experiences deeply affect them

Relying on applications and digital services, the Application Generation reacts more strongly when they encounter an issue. This goes beyond frustration over something not working – more than half (53%) of this cohort claims a bad digital experience has affected their wellbeing on at least one occasion in the last year. They have zero tolerance for poor digital experiences, with 55 per cent stating performance issues with applications make them feel the brand disrespects their time.

3. Quality is more important than quantity for applications

While younger consumers use more applications than the general population, they do not use digital services indiscriminately. The Application Generation prefers quality and they are determined to use the most seamless and secure applications, constantly evaluating the relevance and value of digital services.

4. Sky high are the expectations for digital experiences 

The Application Generation are knowledgeable and sophisticated in their use of digital services. They have relied on applications to navigate through the pandemic – for their education, to embark on their careers, and to stay connected to friends. They have seen the types of experiences that the most innovative companies in the world are offering and they now expect this same standard every time they use a digital service.

5. Empowered and in control 

Another finding that should give brands cause for concern is that the Application Generation feels empowered to find alternative applications when they have a poor digital experience. On average, they’ve deleted seven applications in the last year due to a bad digital experience.

When young consumers are tied to brands, such as banks and mobile phone companies, they still refuse to settle for poor digital experiences. They are reverting to traditional, offline channels – whether that is calling contact centers or visiting a branch or store. And for organizations looking to control costs during the current economic climate, this can become costly and inefficient.

6. They’re hungry for innovation

The Application Generation prides themselves on testing out the most innovative digital experiences available. That’s why 80 per cent of these younger consumers feel positive about using Super Apps – tools that combine multiple digital services into a single application. The Application Generation are constantly seeking the most intuitive and personalized digital experiences, and two-thirds state they only want to use the best applications and digital services from now on.

Meeting the needs of the Application Generation

These findings send a clear message to businesses in the midst of digital transformation: to ensure their applications and digital services perform optimally now. Especially because any performance drop could result in mass consumer loss.

It is vital for application owners to implement application observability to achieve full and unified visibility across both cloud native and on-premises environments. This helps IT teams rapidly detect application availability,performance and security issues, understand root causesand implement resolutions before digital experience is affected.

The Application Generation has arrived and the bar for digital experience has been raised forever. Application owners must be ready to meet this standard or else they will inevitably lose out.

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