Throughout The Car Industry
Kids These Days: Smartphones Are The New Sports Cars
The car has really fallen a long way in a short time. When I was in my mid-teens about 15 years ago, the car was still the ultimate symbol of freedom and style. Having your own car wasn't just a way to get to school and work, it was a rite of passage. It meant freedom to travel wherever you wanted whenever you wanted, the ability to pick up that pretty damsel in distress and give her a ride home, the ability to escape any argument, and on and on.
These days, however, the car's image is no longer so mystical, even to teenagers. Priorities are changing and the car isn't faring well.
A new study by research firm Gartner indicates that damn-near half of young adults ages 18 to 24 would rather have Internet access than a car. Only 15 percent of baby boomers, on the other hand, would make the same decision.
Essentially the smartphone, tablet computer and other small electronics are now looked upon as the status symbols and tickets to freedom that cars once were. Who needs to actually go anywhere when you can see pictures of the world; stay in constant, minute-to-minute contact with all your closest friends and family; and enjoy the comfort of your bedroom or living room? Smartphones, the Internet and social networks have replaced cars, roads and actual real-life interaction. What did we ever need a car for?
Rising gas costs and increased ecological awareness don't help the car's image any. And even when kids do need to go somewhere, getting a ride or taking the train gives them more time to browse the Web and reciprocate banalities with e-friends.
As much as I fail to fully understand the glamor of constant text messaging and social networking, kids really aren't missing out on that much, if we're being fair. The car's mystical allure lasted all of about two months after I'd actually gotten one. Even in those days of record-low gas prices, a car only drove so far as my meager wallet allowed, and it constantly needed some type of maintenance (more money).
Then, the ability to go anywhere was overshadowed by the perplexing question: "Where the heck do I go now?" Driving to my buddy's house to watch sitcom reruns and VHS movies I'd seen five times wasn't really any more productive or exciting than sending out Tweets and texts from my couch.
I guess if I had had the option of chilling with all my friends while simultaneously reading the news and watching an action sports video clip, I might have been inclined to trade my old '88 Mercury Topaz in for a much-cheaper-to-maintain iPhone, too. Maybe teens are ahead of the curve.
Posted In: Reports
Tags: studies, surveys, market, business, smartphones, technology, internet, computers, web
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