The mobile explosion of recent years has been nothing short of extraordinary. Aside from the juggernaut of social media and networking, the mobile world has become an imperative and defining element to the reality of the Millennials. It’s how we maintain our relationships. It’s how we connect. It’s how we get our information. It’s how we pretty much do everything.
Smart Phoned Millennials
For Millennials, cell phones themselves have had an interesting trending shift. Once seen as objects for emergency use were then transformed to become one of recreational behaviour. Now, that recreational behaviour has made cell phones an object of necessity and an object prevalent to everyday Millennial life.
A recent report completed by Forrester has found that 88% of those aged 18-30 own a cell phone. Further, 23% of those aged 18-30 own a smart phone. The fascinating aspect here is not the fact that there is an overlap, which can be attributed to a variety of different reasons. Rather, it’s the fact that Millennials lead the mobile adoption curves across all demographics. They have also begun to use a new mobile mediums before the previous ones has even passed complete saturation.
Smart phones are not simply the future, they are now. They’re not simply for the privileged, they are for everyone. In general, as Nielsen predicts, smart phones will overtake cell phones by the end of 2011. Something of which has already had double digit growth over the last 2 years, and something that is expected to surge with the general population as a whole.
Even all that said, Millennials are already leading the smart phone wave and expect their smart phone numbers to grow exponentially in the coming years. With roughly 1 in 4 owning a smart phone, the question for many Millennials it’s not a matter of IF you’re going to buy a smart phone next but WHEN you’re going to buy that smart phone.
Millennials and mobile phones have always gone hand-in-hand. And smart phones have only amplified that relationship to great extents. They have become personal representations of who we are. They are the most personal extension of the Millennial self. They are and will continue to become the most used objects of our lives.
And how could they not have such a significant effect? The impressive capabilities smart phone represent absolutely cater to the lives of the Millennials. This is something that can most evidently be understood through the vastly growing apps culture. And one that can’t deny the value and significance apps bring to everyday life.
Apps are allowing us to pretty much do anything. You can quite literally have access to and do everything you find necessary without more than a few movements of your thumbs and fingers. You want your news? Check. You want your shopping deals? Check. You want the weather, sports scores, games and local restaurants? Check. And how could I forget our beloved Facebook and Twitter. Check and check.
The reality of the situation, according to Pew Research, 79% of 18-29 years-olds use the apps they have on their phones, with the average Millennial having 22 apps. Further, app-usage skews towards men, representing 57%, and Millennials, disproportionately represent 44% of all app-usage.
Once we take a deeper look into these dynamics, we find that that those 29% aged 18-24 use apps multiple times a day compared to 44% of those aged 25-34. Equally, of those who downloaded Twitter and Facebook apps, 18-24 years-old use each 75% and 57% respectively each day. While 25-34 year-olds use the same social media apps 52% and 69% respectively. To dispel any confusion here, the reason why I mention these older demographics is due to the fact that Millennials arguably represent those currently as old as 29-31 years old, all depending on who you speak with.
Millennial Culture is a Smart Phone and Apps Culture
A world of smart phones and apps is quite apparent when you brake it down by strict research numbers. But it’s also more apparent that Millennials absolutely love their smart and apps as they lead a clear majority of many of the numbers represented. And this really shouldn’t be seen or interpreted as the new “it” thing.
Not only are they cool, they are functional and efficient. They are both time savers and time wasters. They not only represent who we are, they allow us to be who we are. I can hardly think of a moment when my BlackBerry isn’t in arms reach. And I’d highly doubt that this same closeness couldn’t be applied to all Millennials.
Even as smart phones and apps are still part of a very early and infant state, we are absolutely captivated by them. From our first glimpses in our waking minutes, through our daily activities and the final moments before we go to bed, smart phones and apps have become to exemplify, personify and present everything that is Millennial. Equally, Millennials in turn have humanized them. This is the state of smart phone and apps culture. This is the state of the Millennials.