Earlier this month the OECD released a report that says British young people are the third highest users of digital content in the world. My first thought was: ‘only third?’ The UK is behind Chile (which doesn’t have the broadband penetration of the UK) and Sweden (mono-cultural society with a total population smaller than London).
“One in three British fifteen-year-olds
spends more than six hours per day online.”
At Latimer we run workshops and research with young people all over the world, exploring youth culture and creativity. Naturally, that conversation always includes digital behaviours, social networking and media consumption and we try to work with creatives and influencers at the leading edge of innovation. Based on nothing but my experience, I would argue that urban British teens are the most sophisticated users of digital media in the world. I had put this down to a variety of things: cultural diversity; the British comfort with e-commerce; increasing levels of creative technical knowledge… But the most persuasive argument now is that they have the most practice.
One in three British fifteen-year-olds spends more than six hours per day online. Six hours per day! By the age of 19 those users have the requisite 10,000 hours to be world-class experts in digital culture. Why does this matter? If you want to understand where digital behaviours around the world are headed, to design new products or release new features, you need to understand what urban British teens are doing right now. This is a demographic that shares a language with America, strong Afro-Caribbean and South Asian influences and a wry European sensibility, but most importantly, they put in the hours. Crack this market. Crack the world.