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How Different Generations Use Smartphones

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
July 9, 2014

Millennial smartphone owners spend 14.5 hours a week—more than two hours a day—on average using their phones, according to a recent report from Experian Marketing Services.

In fact, Millennials spend so much time on their smartphones that they account for 41% the total time that Americans spend using the devices, despite making up only 29% of the adult population.

In a typical week, Millennial smartphone owners in aggregate spend 765.9 million hours on their smartphones, far more than any other generation, the analysis found.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from the Simmons NCS—a survey of 23,689 US adults that measures behavior across 11 technology platforms.

Variations in Usage

  • Usage of email, texting, and standard voice functionality on smartphones is similar for all four of the age groups examined in the report: Millennials (age 18 to 34), Generation X (35 to 49), Baby Boomers (50 to 69), and the Silent Generation (70+).
  • Millennials are significantly more likely than other generations to use their smartphones to engage in activities such as social networking, watching video, IM/chatting, and using mobile GPS.
  • Millennials are 1.7 times more likely than smartphone owners 35 and older to use mobile travel apps; 1.5 times more likely to use VOIP apps such as Skype; 1.4 times more likely to use sports apps; and 1.2 times more likely to use classified apps such as Craigslist and Yelp.

How and When They Connect

  • 43% of Millennials surveyed say they access the Internet more through their phone than through a computer; this compares with just 20% of adults 35 and older who primarily use their phone for access.
  • Millennials use their phones at above average rates around the clock. During a typical day, usage among Millennials peaks between 4 PM and 6 PM, when 69% of smartphone owners in the age group are using their phones. Usage among those 35 and older also peaks at this time, but with 66% of smartphone owners using their devices.
  • Millennials are especially more likely than older Americans to use their smartphones during the overnight hours. For example, between midnight and 1 AM, Millennials are 15% more likely to be using their phones.

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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Mike Kunkle Wed Jul 9, 2014 via web

    Excellent data. Would be interesting to know how mobile learning (corporate training and development or self-directed learning) fits into this mix.

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