Sunday, February 22, 2009

The youth of today. I've been reading an interesting article in the latest edition of Veja, a popular Brazilian current affairs magazine. Its talking about research conducted on attitudes among young people in Brazil. I found this quite interesting because it speaks directly about our client base - most of my students are middle class Brazilian adolescents. The basic point seems to be that teenagers have more spending power than ever before, cost more to their families, are so immersed in a digital word in which various gadgets (phones, ipods, computers) are like essential extensions to their own limbs and they have greater authority to make decisions about family purchases. They are pragmatic and not idealistic. In spite of all this, they are more "disoriented" then ever, says the magazine...

Here are some of the stats - remember that a large portion of Brazil's population is still very poor. Over 80% of young people use Orkut (like facebook) and MSN and 70% download music illegally. They spend, amazingly, 3 and a half hours online per day, almost as much as me (that's just a joke, by the way!). All of this has greatly increased within the last 3 years. In 2005, only 12% of teenagers wrote a blog, now 21% do. One statistic that really surprised me was to do with how many young people buy online - up from 14% in 2005 to 40% in 2008. Brazilians, as I've said on here before, generally distrust strangers, distrust (quite rightly) the mail service and doubt (also, rightly) the adequate provision of any customer service or returns procedures for products. Consequently, Marcado Livre - the e-bay of Brazil has never really flown like its counterpart in the UK and the States. So, while 40% is probably lower than the equivelent statistic in the UK, its still a lot higher than I thought it would be and, thinking optimistically, if young people experience success in their online purchasing, this all may mark a much needed up-turn in overall levels of trust within Brazil.

I've always been impressed how much Brazilians are able to assimilate new technology into their lives, homes and businesses so I reckon these statistics don't surprise all that much. What would the equivelent stats be back in the UK? I guess this is the kind of world, be it Brazil or back in the UK, that my own kids are growing up in so I'd better get used to it!

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