Opera report: 10 mobile web facts about the Generation Y

10 mobile web facts about the Generation Y, according to Opera in a new study, show some salient facts but also some interesting, unexpected ones too.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

Opera recently released a report detailing the needs, wants and practices of those using the mobile web. A significant focus was brought upon the Generation Y in how younger people, as the densest demographic of users of mobile devices, use the web on the go.

Page 21 of the report, the State of the Mobile Web for October 2010 dedicated an entire half-document report into the iGeneration. Most of it would seem to be relatively congruent with current perceptions, but you may be surprised by a few bits and pieces you wouldn't ordinarily expect.


One of the more almost-poignant quotes from this research; something I've been wittering on about for years now:

"...there were no obvious indicators to explain why certain actions/attitudes were common in some countries, but uncommon in others. We make no claim to understanding why online shopping is so unpopular in South Africa (relative to the popularity in other countries), or why German users are so likely to use SMS to ask people on dates (compared to users in other countries).

At best, we can simply acknowledge that each country has its own social, economic, political and cultural context that differentially influences the members of its own Generation Y. Some may even argue that “Generation Y” is overly U.S.-specific. Indeed, the results of our survey might indicate that cultural specifics make “Generation Y” an overly broad categorization."

This further reflects the ambiguity about the Generation Y or even the iGeneration, as a large demographic of widely misunderstood, unreadable data. Though many will argue that these massive overlapping groups of people have neither impact nor relevance to modern society, we are the next generation of IT workers and will transform employment and industry as we know best from our younger years.

1. The Generation Y in less developed countries are more likely to suffer a busy-signal on their phone, with Poland, Vietnam and Indonesia suffering the most, and the US, China and South Africa having better infrastructure.

2. Most of the Generation Y got their first mobile phone during the ages of 11-20, with economically sufficient European countries heading the polls with even younger users.

3. The vast majority of the Generation Y have browsed the mobile web on public transport, showing a keen need to keep in contact or entertained whilst on the move. Telecommuting could be almost prescribed with the younger generation, with increasing numbers working from home even today.

4. The Generation Y still enjoy a good, old-fashioned book with many economically developed countries, even the United States with e-readers on tap, accessing libraries and reading non-fiction cover to cover outside of the schooling environment.

5. Phone booths and public phones can still be used, but rarely in developed countries where mobile access is far easier for Generation Y consumers. Considering that our contacts are stored on our mobiles, the chances are there would be no numbers to call if our phones were left at home.

6. Video sharing is not as popular as you may think for the Generation Y. More people than not in the more economically developed countries like the US, Poland and Germany do not share videos online, either because of the lack of high-quality equipment or poor cell bandwidth.

7. The Generation Y are aware of their locale, and online shopping confidence levels differ as a result, with those in Germany, the US and the UK being more comfortable buying products online than in Russia, the Ukraine and South Africa where other options are more popular.

8. Most Facebook friends amongst the Generation Y are real-life friends too. Only a small proportion of people, usually over vast areas of land have a low or medium number of online friends that they have not met in real life.

9. The Generation Y are conflicted about online anonymity; with most being either comfortable with it being as 'anonymous' as it is, but others conflicted with feels of freedom of speech, net neutrality and oppression.

10. Most of the Generation Y in developed countries have not edited Wikipedia, including users in Poland, India, the UK and Germany. Some suggest it boils down to lack of time, but also the bureaucracy of citations and the conflicting knowledge of others.

And finally: who uses a mobile browser more than their browser on a desktop or laptop? You guessed it.


Opera, in a bold move in a final thought claims that more of the Generation Y is using the mobile web, specifically Opera Mini for mobile devices than broadband on computers and laptops. All the respondents to the survey are Opera Mini users to begin with, so it isn't hard to see where the figures come from exactly.

The closing statement considered the results it had collected; almost questioning them:

"Interestingly, the countries (namely Poland, Germany, United States, and Brazil) with the highest percentage of respondents using desktop or laptop computers as the primary means of Internet access were countries where smartphones are among the top handsets used.

This result presents a challenge to the long-standing belief that smartphone uptake will be the major driver of mobile web usage globally."

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