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

“I observe holidays and religion-based traditions but am more connected to it as a culture than as a religion.”—Female, 27, MA

Chinese youth have a “selfie obsession” that’s changing beauty standards and creating a new tier of celebrity. The Influencer Effect is full blown in China, where young consumers are beautifying their selfies via filter apps like Meitu and plastic surgery—all in the quest to look more like wang hong, their internet celebrities. One influencer, HoneyCC, argues that “Selfies are part of Chinese culture now, and so is Meitu-editing selfies.” But some say the trend is pushing the population to become more homogenous by favoring certain features, and headlines have lashed back against the whitening of skin prevalent in social apps. (The New Yorker)

Eighty-one percent of Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily’s Millennial readers say social media is the best way for advertisers to reach them. Bustle’s latest questionnaire also found that 40% of their 18-34-year-old readers prefer Instagram for brand communications, followed by trusted websites, email, and online articles. Some other fun insights: Over half believe that a company should give back, instead of just turning a profit, and 49% think “companies should do more to protect the environment.” (Adweek)

Drug use is down among teens—except when it comes to marijuana and vaping. From the 1990s to 2017, the percentage of teens who said they’d been drunk dropped from 46% and 58%, and those reporting they’ve smoked cigarettes from 26% and 17%. However, marijuana use increased for the first time in seven years in 2017, while vaping is up as well, with at least 19% of high school seniors, 16% of sophomores, and 8% of eighth-graders saying they’ve vaped in the past year. (LATimes)

Two modern dating shows are coming to Facebook Watch. The first “unscripted dating show” from SoulPancake, Love & Longitude, is shot on iPhones and shows two potential love interests’ relationship blossoming across FaceTime, social media, and other digital interactions. The second dating show from Machinima, Co-Op Connection, plays into the esports craze. One bachelor gets to pick his partner based on their personality—and their skills at the videogame, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. (tubefiltertubefilter)

Some cities are past their “peak Millennial” populations, as the generation increasingly finds new digs in the suburbs. Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles all reached their highest Millennial population in 2015, and New York and Washington D.C. are showing slowing Millennial growth, according to U.S. Census data. Meanwhile Chicago’s suburbs and others have seen an uptick in their young adult populations—another Millennial myth debunked. Which urban centers are still attracting the demo as they age up? “Tech hubs” like Seattle and San Francisco. (Time)

“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

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