What Millennials & Teens Are Doing On Their Smartphones Every Single Day

We surveyed 1000 13-33-year-olds to find out what exactly they're doing on their phones everyday, and how use varies between males versus females, and teens versus older Millennials...

In our most recent monthly survey, one 21-year-old female told us, “I can’t live without my smartphone because I am on it several hours everyday. When my screen died yesterday, I cried.” She's not alone. When we asked 13-33-year-olds to tell us which of the devices that you own is the ONE they can’t live without, 53% said their smartphones. Many just can't imagine getting through the day without it. 

Nielsen reports that 18-34-year-olds spend 11 hours and 26 minutes with smartphones weekly. For the first time in history we have a generation of teens who don’t remember a life without smartphones. Their reliance on mobile is impacting nearly every industry, which is why we continue to track their smartphone use. We asked the 80% of 13-33-year-olds who say they own a smartphone what they’re doing on their phones daily, to find out exactly how use varies between males versus females, and teens versus older Millennials. Here’s a breakdown of some of that activity for Millennial males versus females:

Both males and females are messaging on their phones more than any other activity, making messaging their top smartphone activity for the second year in a row. Apps like Whatsapp have clearly both spurred and benefited from the trend, and new messaging apps are appearing to compete for their attention almost daily. Social networking is the second highest smartphone activity, with females slightly more likely than males to access social media platforms on their phones once a day or more. Females 13-33-years-old are also more likely to take pictures, send pictures or videos, and check facts on their smartphones…

 
 

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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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