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Introducing the Dot-com Adopters

25 November 2019

The generation at the forefront of the internet, now leading the way in embracing tech to protest our planet

  • Research has uncovered a new generational tribe - the Dot-com Adopters who were 18-35 when the world wide web was launched in 1989
  • The Dot-com Adopters are those who witnesses the launch and growth of the internet - and are now leading the way embracing tech for its environmental potential
  • They're the generation most likely to adopt energy efficiency measures for environmental reasons
  • Dot-com Adopters are more likely than younger generations to believe we need to keep an open mind about and adapt to new technologies that may help the environment
  • Over half (52%) of Dot-com Adopters believe we need to upgrade Great Britain's energy infrastructure - more than younger generations
  • Smart Energy GB is working with Carol Vorderman as a champion of the Dot-com Adopters to celebrate the changes this adaptable and forward-thinking generation have embraced over the past 30 years.

Remember the sound of a dial up modem? Remember not being able to use the landline phone at the same time as being online? Remember thinking the internet might be a fad when it first launched? Yet despite earlier cynicism, you now use a smart phone, would be lost without your sat nav and have all the eco-technologies including a smart meter installed in your home? If so, chances are, you get to celebrate being a Dot-com Adopter.

Research released today by Smart Energy GB has identified a generation of 48-65 year olds called the "Dot-com Adopters" - those who were aged between 18 and 35 when the world wide web launched and saw the internet and smart technology evolve into a platform that is so central to our lives today.

As the generation that witnessed the birth of the internet and developed it into the indispensable part of our lives that it has become, they've long seen the value of tech advancements, and understand that innovations such as smart meters can pave the way for improvements in our society and environment. This is translating into specific Dot-com Adopter behaviours and beliefs that set them apart from younger generations.

A poll of 4,000 UK adults found that nearly one in 10 (7%) of Dot-com Adopters admit they thought the internet would be something that would simply 'pass them by' when it was first launched. Nearly a fifth (17%) could only see the value for big businesses. Specific frustrations they recall from the early years of the internet include its slow speeds, and not being able to use the landline phone at the same time as being online.

Despite their initial hesitation, nearly half (49%) of Dot-com Adopters agreed they were quick to embrace the new technology soon after it was introduced. since then, technology has changed at an incredible speed. From dial up, to broadband, smart speakers, on demand TV, smart phones, dating apps and sat nav. Yet, our outdated and wasteful energy system hasn't kept up to date with other technological advancements. An updated energy system, with smart meters at the heart of it, will play an important role in meeting Britain's net-zero carbon targets.

The research has revealed that there is a common assumption amongst three in four (76%) Brits, that younger generations are much more comfortable embracing the latest technologies than older generations. However, the study found those aged 48 to 65 continue to embrace technological advancements, especially when it comes to innovations that are good for the environment.

The research revealed:

  • Brits ages 48 to 65 are more likely to be multi-skilled in both the use of technology and more traditional skills, as the majority can do practical tasks such as wire a plug and bleed a radiator, as well as use smart technology such as a sat nav or a smartphone
  • And although younger Gen Z adults - may be confident in using smart speakers and dating apps, they are less confident with household tasks such as how to reset a fuse box or work an in-house security camera
  • 55% of Dot-com Adopters are adopting energy efficiency measures because they're good for the environment - more than any other generation
  • And nearly half of Dot-com Adopters (45%) - more than younger generations - agree that we need to keep an open mind and adapt to new technologies which may help the environment
  • In fact, over half (52%) of Dot-com adopters believe we need to upgrade Great Britain's energy infrastructure - more than any other younger generation
  • And despite one in 10 having believed it would 'pass by', more Dot-com Adopters (38%) than any other generation now turn to the internet when they need tech advice

Robert Cheesewright, Director of Corporate Affairs, Smart Energy GB, said:

"Since British pioneer Tim Berners-Lee kickstarted the digital era 30 years ago, technology has moved on beyond all expectations. However, our energy system has been left behind. We want to take this opportunity to celebrate and recognise the forward-thinking Dot-com Adopters who embraced the world wide web at its inception, and are now driving the change our energy system needs to meet the challenges of the future.

"In fact, they are already setting an example for other generations, simply by getting a smart meter installed. When asked why they're more willing to adopt new tech to help the environment, 67% of Dot-com Adopters say it's because climate change is important. And those aged 48 to 65 are the generation most likely to install energy efficiency measures, like smart meters, because they're good for the environment (55%)."

Says Donna Dawson, psychologist:

"Contrary to what many of us assume about the older generations being more set in their ways, the dot-com Adopters have spent most of their adult lives adapting to the huge changes that the internet has made in society, and are leading the charge in learning and adapting to new technology for the benefits that it brings in the long term. Also, the Dot-com Adopters, having general life-experience of what works and what doesn't, have understood better than many the ways that technology can be harnessed for the greater good of society and our planet and have adapted accordingly."

Carol Vorderman who is supporting the campaign, added:

"As a Dot-com Adopter myself, I'm not at all surprised to hear it's not just the younger generations who are adapting to new tech - and I'm delighted to be able to be a champion for the Dot-com Adopters!

"We know what life was like before the internet and the smart technologies it has led to, and so I think we have a pragmatic approach to it. I worked as an engineer on a major power generation construction site when I was young and grew up needing coins for the immersion heater which I suppose was its own kind of electricity conservation, although we didn't see it like that at the time.

"Smart meters take the new generation of energy usage to an intelligent level, and will update our energy system. The data that smart meters are able to generate allows our energy system to understand how much energy is being used, when and where. It's exciting. I'm pleased to see that my generation is leading with small, but important steps, to help our country meet its energy and environmental needs of the future."

Robert Cheesewright concludes:

"With almost 15 million smart meters already installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain, we are at an important point in the energy infrastructure upgrade. It is pleasing to see that over half of Dot-com Adopters are in support of the move towards a cleaner, more efficient energy system. Only thirty years ago, we were preparing to lay the foundations of this digital revolution by adopting the internet in our own homes. We're now laying the foundations of a smart energy system - adapting to smarter home technology - with smart meters at the heart of this."

Find more at Smart Energy GB: https://www.smartenergygb.org/en

*Survey conducted by One Poll, total sample size 4,000 adults

Fieldwork undertaken in November 2019.

For more media enquiries including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, photography and additional quotes please contact the Smart Energy GB media team:

Email: [email protected]

Dami Ahmed:

[email protected]

0207 9735 932

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

About Smart Energy GB

Smart Energy GB is the campaign for a smarter Britain. It's our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to be cleaner and greener with their energy use. Our national campaign is reaching households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit our website: www.smartenergyGB.org

About smart meters and the rollout

Smart meters replace the traditional meters we currently have in our homes. They enable accurate bills, near real time information on energy use in pounds and pence, and greater control over the way we buy and use energy. The smart meter rollout is an essential technology upgrade, unprecedented in its scale, to improve Great Britain's energy infrastructure.

There are already almost 14 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Contact your energy supplier to request your smart meter today.

How a smart meter works

A smart meter measures how much gas and electricity you use and securely shares this directly with your energy supplier at least once a month and your portable in-home display in near real time. You won't have to take any meter readings manually - your smart meter will send automatic readings to your energy supplier via the secure smart data network which is solely for smart meters. This works in a similar way as other wireless systems but does not use the internet.