Demographic categorization is always a little tricky, but what’s not tricky is observing just how dominant the catch-all category “millennials” have become both demographically and in the popular imagination. Roughly categorized as those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, the latest Nielsen numbers show them composing 22% of all US “TV Homes” – i.e. those viewing the media that Nielsen measures.
More germane to 2017, what millennials really consume is mobile apps. This generational cohort spends 90 hours per month on smartphone apps, a number poised to continue to rise (for those doing tabulations, that’s 3 hours of app time per day). Contrary to popular perceptions, it’s not a social media app that they can’t live without – it’s Amazon, pointing to a shift in this generation that sees apps as the primary means for commerce, for travel and for general life assistance.
As Peggy Ann Salz put it in a recent Forbes column,
“….(companies are) pairing, partnering and joining forces to deliver apps that offer life solutions (not point solutions) aligned with users’ lifestyles, life stages and context at the magical “mobile moment” when they reach to their fiercely personal devices for seriously helpful assistance.”
In other words, those millennials born in the early 80s are actually in the mid-thirties now, yet they’ve lived lives on smartphones for the last 10 or more years. Their understanding of the online world, especially recently, has been shaped by smartphones and mobile apps – and it’s even more true for the younger members of this cohort. Smart brands are taking note.
This plays itself out in app-first solutions such as these:
- HotelTonight for travel booking. Sure they have a website, but all the commerce takes place in the app.
- The $70 billion lottery industry. This industry can’t afford to lose out on millennials, so mobile-first Powerball apps like AutoLotto are soaring.
- Fintech solutions targeted at millennials, such as Acorns
- ….as well as a huge array of app-first shopping tools that go well beyond Amazon, such as ShopSavvy and The Hunt, as well as massively popular food delivery apps like JustEat and Caviar
It’s clear that these new brands – as well as “legacy” brands that have adjusted their businesses accordingly – understand that their approach to commerce needs to match their target audience’s passion for apps. Those apps need to start quickly, drive their users to convert as fast as possible, and not be riddled with errors. 70% of them will critique an app in the App Store or on Google Play based on its load time, speed and performance.
Our worlds are adjusting to theirs, and brands that get it are seeing a decided advantage over those that don’t.____________________