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It’s no secret that millennials are attached to their mobile devices, and recent research from My.com, conducted by Survey Sampling International (SSI) in October 2014, set out to determine just how much time this demographic spent with their beloved smartphones and tablets.
According to the study, which included 13- to 24-year-olds in its definition of millennials, 45% of smartphone- and tablet-using 13- to 18-year-olds in the US spent 4 hours or more using the mobile internet each weekday, with 28% logging on for over 5 hours on average. Nearly half of 19- to 22-year-olds spent at least 4 hours with the mobile internet every weekday. Here, too, just less than one in three logged on for over 5 hours on average.
eMarketer estimates that this year, 88.0% of US internet users ages 12 to 17 will own and use a mobile phone at least once per month, and 80.8% will access the internet via such a device. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, mobile phone penetration will come in at 96.5%—the highest out of all age brackets—and 91.4% of these consumers will log on to the internet via their phones at least once per month.
Research has indicated that younger users spend more daily time on social networks, and My.com found that this trend wasn’t restricted to social. On both weekdays and weekends, millennials spent more time on average with all mobile communication activities besides email—which makes sense given that older consumers often need to access email more frequently for work.
Despite the looming death of SMS, text messaging grabbed the most time with millennials each day, with 114 minutes on average during the weekdays and 115 minutes on the weekends. Social networks were the second most frequent form of mobile communication across all days, followed by instant messenger apps, with average time for both rising about 10 minutes on the weekends.
Given all of the time they spend with mobile media, it makes sense that millennials want brands to be on top of their mobile game. According to September 2014 research by Annalect, when asked about the leading ways in which brands should use digital media, US millennial smartphone users ranked having mobile-friendly websites and apps No. 1, at 55%. While 44% did agree that brands should still maintain some form of human interaction, almost just as many (42%) thought they should offer loyalty programs through mobile apps or allow for mobile payments.
There’s no denying that millennials spend a huge amount of time with the mobile internet and communication tools. Brands looking to target them need to adapt to mobile in order to best reach them on their preferred screens.
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