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Millennials can’t live without their smartphones, but this doesn’t mean they are ditching other devices.
These are among the findings of MFour’s Millennial Insights Project, examining millennials’ views on technology and lifestyle, with a focus on the smartphones and other computing devices that are the dominant technology in their lives.
Smartphone owners haven’t abandoned other computing devices – as long as those other devices meet the portability test, and 87,1% also own a laptop, while 71,4% have a tablet.
However, their smartphones are essential, with 92,3% of millennials saying they use their phones at least several times a day, compared to 32,1% for laptops. Meanwhile, 44,9% said they spend at least five hours a day on their smartphones – compared to 23,3% who spend five or more hours on a personal computer (desktop or laptop). And 79,3% of millennials use their phones at least two hours a day, compared to 45,7% for personal computers.
Only 3,8% of respondents said they use their smartphones less than an hour a day. Millennials are far more likely to make sparing use of laptops and/or desktops – 26,3% report using them less than an hour a day.
Smartphones are a constant companion, and 45,3% of millennials say they keep their smartphones with them 24/7 – and 93,2% say they keep their phones on their persons or nearby at least 10 hours a day.
Millennials are pushing the granddaddy of personal computers into retirement. Only 45,2% of them own a desktop; men are the diehards, with 50,6% still holding on to desktops, compared to just 39,8% of women.
Affluence is another predictor for ownership of what most millennials apparently perceive as a luxury they can live without. The study shows that 54,2% of respondents living in households with annual incomes of at least $75 000 said they had a desktop as well as a smartphone. Desktop ownership in millennial households with earnings under $50 000 was 42%.
Only one-third of millennials (33,1%) say they use a desktop computer at least once a day. Almost as many (30%) are now using wearable devices such as smart watches at least once a day.
A massive 88,7% of millennials check text messages the moment they get them. They’re considerably less compulsive about social media and app notifications (41,2% and 40,5%, respectively, get checked immediately). Email continues to trend downward — just 35,3% get opened right away. And 51% check their apps’ push notifications at least once an hour, compared to 48,6% for email.
Overall, Millennials seem satisfied with whatever smartphone operating system they’re using now. Those saying they were likely or very likely to switch (25,6%) were outnumbered two-to-one by those who said they were unlikely or very unlikely to make a change (51,9%). That left 22,5% who could go either way.
However, there were differences in the degree of loyalty commanded by Apple’s iOS system and Google’s Android. They were comparable when it came to their shares of loyal users – 53,8% of iOS users and 50,4% of Android users said they were likely or very likely not to switch devices. But on the other end, Android users were twice as likely to express discontent: 32,9% said they were likely or very likely to switch to a different OS, compared to 16,7% for iOS.
When it comes to discovering new apps to download, Millennials rank advice from family and friends (61%), social media (60,4%) and Apple and Google’s app stores (56,7%) as by far the biggest influences. The advertising about apps that’s most likely to influence them is the kind they they receive through an app — 33,6% of millennials cited in-app advertising as a factor, compared to 23,4% who said ads on television, radio or in print media helped them discover new apps. News coverage ranked last as a portal to discovering, cited as an influence by 15,1%.
When it came to using social media to discover apps to download, women were notably more active than men — 67,6% to 53,2%. The same goes for legacy advertising (television, radio and print), cited by 27,4% of women and 19,4% of men.
About half of Millennials (50,7%) use four to six different mobile apps per day. At the extremes, just 15,4% use no more than three apps daily, and 13,5% use 10 or more. App usage varies little across ethnicities, age segments and gender.
The data for this report was obtained through the first wide-ranging, demographically representative study of millennials undertaken solely by smartphone app, using MFourDIY, an all-mobile, do-it-yourself survey platform.