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

“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

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