America’s Millennials (youth born after 1980) number 83.1 million and represent more than a quarter of the nation’s population, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau released in 2015. They are currently the hottest consumer generation.
The situation is not different around the world. Millennials take the crown as the most populous demographic, exceeding that of the preceding baby boomer generation that once held the title.
Industry projections also indicate that by 2017 the Millennial generation will comprise the largest online audience, and will have more buying power than any other generation that has come before it.
Understanding Millennials’ Tech-based Habits
As these young people interact, it's not hard to notice the generation's habits—especially as it relates to technology. Today’s 20 and 30-something-year-olds are at the heart of the digital age. They think with and through new technologies.
Millennials have embraced the new platforms of the digital era—the internet, mobile technology, social media—at a pace and depth that older age groups simply do not match. Not surprisingly, Millennials cited technology use as the most defining characteristic of their generation, over other factors like music, pop-culture and liberal mindset, according to a 2014 Nielsen survey.
Other generations find the tech-based habits of those in the 18 to 35 age bracket quite intriguing, including habits like Snapchatting live events and checking social media anywhere and everywhere—even while in the toilet.
Intriguing Ways Millennials Use Technology
Whether you’re a Millennial, hiring Millennials or trying to sell them a product or service, it’s worth considering the available data about this sizeable demographic to understand their realities, behaviors and trends.
Here are some of the strangest ways Millennials use technology today:
1. Most generations have adopted mobile technology, but mobile is the defining platform of choice for the millennial generation. Research indicates 95.1% have a mobile phone, and of this percentage 88.6% have a smartphone.
Source: Nielsen and eMarketer.
2. Millennials seem addicted to their mobile phones—51% of them use their smartphones while eating with family, and 32% of the millennial cohort on the younger end of the age group check social media from the toilet.
3. Millennials are even getting intimate with their mobile phones—83% of the demographic admitted to sleeping with their devices near or next to them in bed.
4. The age group cited text messaging as their preferred mode of communication over phone calls. From 2008 to 2010, Millennials' average phone-call time dropped by around 1,200 minutes. At the same time, the number of text messages sent doubled from 600 to over 1,400 each month. So think twice before calling up a Millennial.
5. 31% percent of smartphone-owning Millennials say they use their phones during 50% or more of an event they're attending. Less than 15% of the same demographic say they never pull out their phones during a concert, show or other live event.
6. 55% percent of Millennials have taken a selfie and posted it on a social-media site, while overall, only 26% of Americans have shared selfies online.
Source: Pew Research Center.
7. Millenials also love showing off their food on social media: 44% of Millennials ages 21 to 24 admit to posting a photo of food or drinks they or someone else was having on a social platform.
8. With Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, as the face of the generation, 63% of Facebook and Twitter users get their news from those social media platforms, rather than traditional media sources like television or newspapers.
Source: Pew Research Center.
9. 70% of those under 30 use ad blockers, and many others find traditional TV commercials increasingly irrelevant. This shouldn’t really be a surprise considering that Millennials can access a wide range of content online anywhere, anytime and on any device.
Source: PageFair (PDF).
10. Indeed with the rejection of traditional media formats comes the rejection of traditional advertising. Millennials tend to opt out of cable-television services. 26% of millennials have actually never had pay-TV services, but more than 70% take advantage of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
Source: USA Today/Mike Snider.
11. Millennials aren’t just using technology to connect with friends. They like to handle their finance themselves, and primarily do so online—engaging in online trading and buying of mutual funds. More than 80% actually believe new technology and social media usage will positively change the world.
Source: Nielsen and Lab42.
12. Technology is so ubiquitous in the lives of Millennials that its influence extends into this generation's health habits. 7 out of 10 Millennials prefer to manage their health using mobile apps. This might explain the surge of fitness and health related apps.
Source: Accenture Interactive, AdWeek.
13. Millennials generally prefer to be in control, favoring website self-service solutions over assisted service; give millennials the power to resolve their own problems and they will love you for it.
Source: Forrester Research.
14. Millennials are generally impatient consumers. If they have a question and an answer isn’t immediately available, more than half will abandon their purchases on the spot. Engaging these users, therefore, hinges on providing fast, efficient website self-service options and answers.
Source: Forrester Research.
15. Millennials take to social media and lambast brands and technologies that have just let them down based upon the online experience they had with those brands. This means Millennials will be a company’s greatest advocate or worst critic in real-time.
Source: Accenture Consulting.
See Also: 5 New Ways Millennials Are Interacting with Stories Online.
Image Credit: Flickr user hehaden