It's very difficult to predict what an entire demographic of broad level users will do in the upcoming year. It's like predicting whether or not you'll get hit by an engine falling from a plane while dressed as Hugh Jackman in drag.
However, some predictions may surprise you altogether. It has been a tough year of economic recovery and though the recession is widely over, the spending cuts from governmental budgets will hit the younger, spendthrifty consumer most.
1. The Generation Y will continue not to be put off by copyright lawsCopyright laws are weak. Even the newer digital laws are prohibitive and disproportionate. They are busting at the seams with irrelevant content which bears little know how of modern technologies, and are practically unenforceable. No wonder people have been taking advantage since the days of WinMX and the original Napster back in the 1990's.
Cases which have enveloped the media with disproportionate fines and court battles turns the defendants, arguably the victim in these cases, almost into a martyr for the cause. Surprisingly public sympathy becomes divided, with a feel of modern day 'stealing a loaf of bread' because they were hungry. I know it sounds odd, but copyright laws at the moment are as effective as the odds to winning the Euro lottery.
2. Rising inflation will impact Generation Y spendingAs inflation rises so do the price of consumer goods. For many who are working on national minimum wage at £5-$12 an hour depending on age and country, this is not enough to maintain a technology filled lifestyle.
The technology already bought, ranging from mobile devices to laptops, either by parents or themselves during a time of economic downfall, will be safe. Yet with wages remaining the same, plus the hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) in the UK and similar taxes across the developed world, spending will significantly reduce.
I expect that those with higher incomes with little or no dependencies will have more expendable income. This may include some of the Generation Y, but not the iGeneration demographic as a whole.
3. High speed fibre/WiMAX broadband will be sought by colleges and universitiesEven with rising tuition fees and universities and colleges still recovering from their own budget cuts since the recession, the recovery is on. One of the logical options for many will be a increase in bandwidth to their campuses to encourage growth, external research and development, and opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Bandwidth nowadays acts like a currency; the bigger the pipe, the bigger the wallet, and the more you can fit in and the more to spend. New York University could be getting the first taste the fibre pie with Google's new office conveniently located above a hub of fibre activity.
4. Younger developers may be put off by increasing corporate bureaucracyBack in the day, there was a good mix of development for enthusiasm but also development for revenue. With a more broad spectrum of devices and platforms to develop for, combined with the bureaucracy of terms and conditions, especially from Apple, this could hamper the efforts for younger developers who create for passion as well as money.
5. Computing students will become more 'creative' and less 'technical'There always has been a disparity between the creative and the practical industries; like political parties, one occasionally holds the top spot until the other leads the polls.
From what I have seen and heard on my studenty-travels, the creative industry for university students has been on a downwards trend, as the recession recovers from 'non-vital' infrastructure and technical staffers. The creative industry bridges the technical world with the ordinary consumer, and at long last now that money has hit the economy like a wet fish, more money can be invested into areas which spur on the ordinary consumer.