This is What Millennials & Gen Z Are Doing on Their Phones the MOST

What does a day in the life of a Millennial/Gen Z smartphone look like—and what are they doing on their phones the most every day? We checked in with 1000 13-34-year-olds to find out…

Whether you think that smartphones are destroying the next generation, or believe that the devices we’re all hooked on have as many positive effects as negative, good luck prying their phones out of their hands now. When we asked Millennials and Gen Z what tech item they would buy next if they could buy anything, a new smartphone beat out everything else. They have moved from luxury to indispensable in the eyes of these generations. In fact, 64% of 13-34-year-olds told us that their smartphone is the one device they own that they can’t live without—laptop came in second with a vastly lower 13%.  

Half of 13-34-year-olds tell us that they spend 1-4 hours a day on their phones—and almost three in ten admit to spending 5-8 hours on it. It’s no wonder that brands are hungry to find new ways to break into mobile, and we’re always digging to find out what exactly young consumers are doing on the devices they love. Earlier this year, we used behavioral tracking to get a glimpse inside Millennials and Gen Z’s mobile social world, but we also asked 1000 13-34-year-olds to tell us how often they use their phones for a range of activities. Today, we’re showing exactly what they’re doing the most.

We’ll start with an overview of 13-34-year-olds’ daily use: 

As we saw in 2016, messaging is the top activity that Millennials and Gen Z are using their phones for daily, followed by social networking, and listening to music. Between messaging and social media, these generations are never separated from their friends and family, and in our recent mobile/app behavior survey, 78% told us that they are always connected…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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