11 Aug

How Millennial Usage Will Shape and Smarten Future Smartphones

By Greg Wester, SVP Marketing

Uh oh – we may have buried the headline! In our First Dibs report, we quantified how the smartphone is broken. Broken in the sense that it’s not giving the user what they want: interesting content on unlock. What we neglected to mention – while this is a trend that is true for ALL people, the younger generation is doing it in DROVES.

Consider the following from the First Dibs data – millennials are:

  • 28% more likely to disagree with the statement that they “only pick up their phone when there’s a specific activity in mind”
  • 22% more likely to agree that they “often use their phone when they have time to kill”
  • 24% more likely to agree that they “often use their phones when waiting in lines”
  • 50% more likely to agree that they “often use their phone to learn about national/local/world news, gossip, sports, or entertainment news”

Millennials are the shape of the future, and these behavioral trends will drive the future of the smartphone.  Which means that the trends of smartphone usage in the times of boredom and wanting something instantly and in short, snackable form is only going to become more pronounced. As such, the key to engaging the millennial successfully is to put something in front of them that is quick to digest and engages them in an instant.

We’re already seeing other newsfeeds making changes to get content to users FASTER and more EFFICIENTLY. Facebook this month announced that it will be prioritizing links that load faster on its news feed. This followed Google’s unveiling of a personalized newsfeed that will bring bring tailored content that would be relevant to you before you search for it.

If there ever was a thought that smartphone usage for the mobile millennial was just a momentary trend, the large investments made towards monetizing this behavior should make carriers think otherwise. Some carriers and OEMs have taken note of these trends in millennials, with Nokia recently announcing a new line of smartphones aimed specifically at the group. They would be wise to extend this level of engagement by innovating new content delivery solutions on the first screen that will engage the user right up front and BEFORE they get to Google or Facebook.