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The Devices Millennials & Gen Z Plan On Buying This Year

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

We know young consumers are tech-obsessed, but what gadgets are they actually buying? We asked 1000 13-35-year-olds to tell us what devices they plan to purchase this year…

Young consumers’ tech obsession is nothing new, and in fact, technology is one of the things they consider a defining characteristic of their generation. Though many believe smartphones and other devices are destroying the next generation, most young consumers believe that the devices we’re all hooked on have as many positive effects as negative–it helps them learn new skills, stay up-to-date with the news, and keep in contact with friends. Which might be why they’re also the generation that is the first to embrace new tech and devices. A PwC study found that Millennials are twice as likely as adults older than 35 to be very willing to adopt smart watches, fitness bands, or smart glasses, and an International Data Corporation study found that the sale of virtual and augmented reality headsets is expected to jump to 60 million in 2021, up from 8.1 million in 2016, a trend they’re betting will be generated mostly by Gen Z. The generation is also spurring the sales of digital voice assistants, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, which jumped 129% between 2016 and 2017. A third of Millennials will reportedly use a digital voice assistant this year, and about four times more Millennials than Baby Boomers will use them by 2019.

That isn’t to say that young consumers aren’t loaded with devices already. A recent Adobe study found that Millennials have an average of 7.7 devices total, and use 3.3 daily. They are also the biggest “cross-device” users: 90% switch devices mid-activity, compared to 76% of Xers and 58% of Boomers.

And for Millennials in the workplace, technology may be a deal breaker. A study from Dell and Intel revealed that 42% of 18-34-year-olds would quit a job with substandard tech and 82% say workplace tech is a factor when considering accepting a new job, compared to 25% and 67% of employees 35-years-old or older, respectively. Recent Ypulse data found that virtually all Millennials and Gen Z owned at least one tech device, and nearly nine in ten owned the most popular one: a smartphone.

With all of this in mind, we wanted to know what devices they’re planning on buying this year. From old school analog to the latest wearables, here’s what will be leaving the shelves in 2018:

As it turns out, the largest group of 13-35-year-olds are planning to buy no new tech devices this year, which might have a little something to do with the fact that they already own just shy of eight devices each. And though 25% of Millennials and Gen Z plan on buying a new smartphone this year, sales for smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2017 dropped 5.6%, according to Gartner, Inc, compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. That’s the first year-on-year decline since Gartner started tracking the global smartphone market in 2004.

What’s fueling this? According to some experts, young consumers are holding onto their phones longer and are increasingly unimpressed with the frequency and diversity of new models. In fact, when we asked 13-35-year-olds how long they typically keep a device before shopping for a new one, 38% said “when my old one breaks,” 25% said three to four years, and just 6% said “when the new model comes out.” Additionally, just 50% of Millennials and Gen Z say they’ve traded in an old device to get a new one, showing that though they love their gadgets, they may love their frugality more. Case in point: 78% say they are bargain hunters when it comes to shopping for tech.

However, Gen Z’s purchasing plan this year is a little different than Millennials’:

As the younger generation ages up, more of them are getting their first devices. And though a larger portion of Gen Z says they won’t be buying anything this year, they beat out Millennials when it comes to plans for purchasing smartphones, headphones, computers, and tablets. While this means brands should be targeting Millennials and Gen Z differently, they should also consider the breakdown between male and female consumers:

With the exception of headphones and fitness trackers (which have long been more popular with women) young men are beating out women in every other category, sometimes by a factor of three. While it’s a stereotype that men like tech and women don’t, the numbers don’t lie. And with young males being a notoriously difficult demographic to reach, it’s important for brands to know where they’re putting their attention–and money.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here