For Millennials, Life Is All About Mobile

Blog Post created by jthibeault on Jun 16, 2015

Note: Some of the content in this post is taken from “The State of Digital Downloads” report. Download the full report here.


The way that we interact with the world is transforming thanks to the devices we use every day—tablets, smartphones, computers, and gaming consoles. No longer do we look to analog sources of information and entertainment. We are increasingly beholden to a blossoming digital world through which we acquire information, express ourselves, and interact with each other. The result is a growing relationship with those devices. From sun-up to sundown, they keep us connected to the digital content and applications that have begun to define our lives.


Yet, those devices need support. They need care and maintenance, and our relationship deepens with these devices as we tend to them. In a seemingly endless cycle, the software we install on our devices needs to be updated and upgraded. And it is through those devices that organizations are becoming forced to engage. From social media to streaming video to applications, businesses must find a way to connect with consumers wherever they are and it would appear, for Millennials, that somewhere is the smartphone.


The Growth of Digital Content Downloading Demonstrates That The Mobile Phone is the Gateway Device for Millennials

It’s clear from other studies[1] that people are using their smartphones more often (about 1500 times per week). But what we tend to focus on is the obvious reasons for that usage—checking email, sending texts, browsing Facebook. What we don’t often stop to consider is how much digital content users are downloading and consuming through their mobile devices.


And yet if the survey results from our most recent study, The State of Digital Downloads, are any indication, that is precisely what people are using their devices to do.


Figure 4.png


As depicted in the graph above, the majority of respondents indicated that they are downloading more content year-over-year. That's TV shows, movies, apps, music, e-books, newspapers, and more. And although this isn’t intuitively surprising, it’s exacerbated when the data is skewed demographically.


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Amongst Millennials, the behavior of downloading and consuming digital content is growing rapidly. Not only did more Millennial respondents indicate that they were downloading an increasing amount of digital content each year, but less respondents indicated they weren’t. A much wider gap that paints a clear picture—Millennials are actively using their smartphones for more than just sending texts and checking social media. What’s more, they aren't just downloading to any device. Although Millennials have access to, and often own, a wide range of connected devices (such as computers, video game consoles, etc.), it is the smartphone that is largely dominating their attention (depicted below).


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Engagement with Digital Content is “Always On”

As Millennials use their mobile devices to download and consume content, it means they are engaging with brands (to source and acquire that content). What’s interesting from our survey responses is that this engagement is not happening at isolated times during the day. Millennials don’t reserve a specific time to download and consume digital content on their mobile phones. They are doing it morning, noon, and night whether it’s online video, music, or apps.


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This is especially important to brands and organizations that target Millennial buyers. Although it would appear from the dataset above that most of the downloading happens during “night time” hours, it’s clear that there is equal opportunity to reach them on their mobile devices at all hours of the day.


But Millennials Want a Consistent Download Experience and Will Cast Blame When Things Go Wrong

Just because Millennials are using their mobile devices more often to download content doesn’t mean that organizations have carte blanche to engage and interact with them. Organizations need first to ensure that the download experience is the best it can be—fast, efficient, anywhere the audience is, and most importantly, consistent.


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Based on the data above, the majority of Millennials are frustrated by a download process that gets interrupted. And what happens when that download experience is less than stellar? The point the finger.


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Even though the majority of consumers will blame their ISP, 30% will cast their gaze at the owner of the digital download, which could mean lights out for an organization's brand.



Downloading and consuming digital content is becoming more and more a part of our lives. If our survey responses indicate anything, it’s that Millennials are driving this behavior forward and, more importantly, from a notable device—the cell phone. As time ticks onward, it’s only logical to assume that Millennial use of mobile phones will continue to displace other connected devices for downloading and consuming a variety of digital content—movies, TV shows, music, apps, books, and more—which continues to punctuate that organizations must be "mobile first."


As organizations look for ways to capture audience attention (Millennials will be the largest demographic in the United States very soon[2]), digital content seems like a perfect opportunity. Millennials are consuming it more often at all hours of the day which means they are actively engaged with their smartphone during the process providing brands a great opportunity to interact (as long as they provide a great download experience).


For more information about this data and other findings, download The State of Digital Downloads report today!


[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2783677/How-YOU-look-phone-The-average-user-picks-device-1-500-times-day.html

[2] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/01/16/this-year-millennials-will-overtake-baby-boomers/