Many recent studies into the preferences and habits of millennials found that they are more engaged with mobile technology than any other group. They also delivered some important insights about the ways in which millennials use smartphones.
Some 500 young people, surveyed by Retale, responded to a series of questions about mobile usage; the research found that 94% of millennials regularly use geo-location technology, and 84% say they act on push notifications. Nearly two thirds use their smartphones to look for coupons or discounts for immediate use, while a third use them to research product information for later purchase.
Whatever they use their mobile device for, the very presence of the device on or near their person is non-negotiable. Zogby reports that 87% of millennials are never without their phone, and 80% start their day by reaching for their device.
Another piece of research - from the OpenMarket - reveals that 76% of millennials would rather sacrifice phone calls than text messaging, citing convenience as the reason. But most interesting to mobile marketers is the fact that millennials would rather receive text messages for business transactions, including payment and appointment reminders, and special promotions.
Furthermore, a Gallup poll surveyed 18 to 29 year olds and found monthly texting rates have more than doubled in the last two years.
And still the number of phone calls made by this demographic continues to decline. According to the Zogby research, 4/5 of young people spend at least two hours per day on their phone. Yet hardly any of them use it to make calls. For older generations, this may be hard to understand, but there are a few factors at play:
- Many young people view phone calls as intrusive and presumptuous, putting expectations on the recipient of the call to drop everything they’re doing and pay attention to the caller. Texting eliminates this problem because it doesn’t require a real-time response.
- Privacy is not something millennials care too much about. They’ve been giving up personal details and consent regarding how their data is shared since they can remember, all in exchange for the convenience of increasingly sophisticated technology. The notion that you would mind companies knowing what you’re talking about is an alien one, and thus no bar to sending reams of your most personal information into the digital ether.
- Texting does away with a lot of the niceties of a phone call, while maximizing the useful information. If you need to simply find out where you’re meeting people for a night out, an address can be stated in a text message - a message that’s also a hyperlink to the map of the location which you can plan the best route to with GPS, all while checking out the menu as you walk. If a millennial texts such a request to their friend, a phone call returned would be annoying!
This understanding of what phones are for is so radically different to what baby boomers and - for their childhood at least - Gen Y-ers used them for, it can be difficult to get your head around. But seeing the smartphone from the perspective of young people will help you craft a more effective mobile marketing campaign. Hope we’ve helped!