The Phone Habits of Millennials – and How to Market to Them

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Millennials have become the biggest generation in history with an estimated 13.8 million populating the UK today. However, despite being one of the most studied demographic groups, several brands admit they are still unsure on how to develop a strategy that both caters for and engages with millennials.

Approximately 84% of millennials now possess a smartphone – making them the largest group of smartphone owners. Considering smartphones provide several features other than telephone calls, it’s unsurprising the traditional marketing methods are no longer enough to keep millennials interested.

Who Are the Millennials?

Before looking into further analysis, it is essential marketers understand who the millennials are. Traditionally millennials are defined as those born between 1980 and the early 2000s. Some sources differ, saying those born as early as 1976 can also be considered millennials.

Millennials were born during the creation of Google and the evolutionary boom of mobile phones, meaning they are naturally shaped by technology; 56% of millennials have reported they are one of the very first to own or try the latest gadgets. In recent years, texting among 18-24 year olds has risen from 600 to over 1,400 texts per month (Forbes); with a study conducted by Pew Research identifying over a third of millennials regularly take out their phones with absolutely no intended purpose.

google millennials

These statistics have resulted in an unfortunate stereotype for millennials, one based around being anti-social, idiotic and lacking in communication skills.


Millennials are commonly misjudged to favour texting over answering the phone, when actually 79% of millennials make a call at least once a day (Invoca) whereas only 29% of those aged 45 and over do the same. In truth, 37% of millennials actually make five or more calls a day, proving they do still like to have a conversation.

The Facts

They’re Always on Their Mobile

According to Tnsglobal “The average millennial (aged 16-30) with internet access spends 3.2 hours a day on their mobile devices – the equivalent of 22.4 hours – almost a whole day – every week. That’s 1,168 hours or 49 days over the course of a year”.

A report by comScore suggests 20% of millennials have completely switched from desktops to mobile-only internet browsing, a frightening statistic for marketers not yet creating mobile-friendly websites. This does not mean mobiles are replacing desktops, but suggests that suitable facilities for both need to be implemented. Features like iframes with internal scrolling, highly detailed images, mouse rollover and fiddly sliding buttons might be advantageous for some sites, but they create havoc on a mobile interface and therefore hinder the user. Introducing double tapping and swiping are common solutions for executing websites on a mobile. Last year, Google updated its algorithm to increase rankings for mobile-friendly sites, meaning websites without mobile compatibility and app connectivity will be rewarded lower rankings in search results.

Forbes has indicated that 54% of business calls originate from mobile channels, with millennials being the most likely to use a click-to-call option (a basic feature of mobile web browsing that allows a user to click on your phone number or an icon to call your number, without having to type it into their mobile). Considering there are currently 40 million millennials in the workplace, and it’s predicted 3 out of every 4 workers globally will be millennials by 2025 (Aabaco), investing in click-to-call is a great solution for appealing to millennials and ensuring you’re enhancing the amenities offered to your main leads.


They Use Mobile Apps the Most

“Of usage growth across all platforms, mobile represented 65%, followed by a modest 12% for tablets”. (Dogtownmedia)

According to comScore, millennials spend 30 hours a month on social apps, with 26 of those hours spent on Facebook. Overall, social media accounts for 29% of app usage on mobiles. Businesses that run blogs could take advantage of social media apps and share content on the major social networks that millennials use, for they are more likely to share content when it’s made more accessible to them. Be sure to publicise your whereabouts on these networks and that you’re worth following.

boohoo millennials

Apps are a great way to keep your customers engaged after they download and use it (e.g. through push notifications). Naturally, apps aren’t appropriate for all, so the decision to create one ultimately depends on your business. Brands that sell products could use mobile apps to offer app-only exclusives – for example boohoo provides a 15% discount on your first app order when using the appropriate code. Promote the app on your website and include links/icons to download it.


They Purchase – but what are they buying?

52% of millennials make purchases on their phones at least a few times per month”. (Oracle)

inbox millennials

Whether it’s through internet browsing or in-app, it’s clear millennials favour the convenience of mobile purchasing – it is the ultimate portable shopping experience. In 2015, 55% of emails were read via a smartphone with 70% of millennials being the most likely to check their email before bed: 57% from the bathroom and 27% whilst driving. (Capterra) This high opening rate is perfect for promoting sales via newsletters, a method that encouraged 44% of email recipients to make at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. Direct marketing uses higher personalisation of promotional offers (e.g. including a name, providing special discounts/codes for individual birthdays) and works best for immediate purchases because it speaks to desire and impulse.


What Does This Mean for Marketing?

Avoid Making Assumptions

Although demographics are commonplace, they should never replace collating real data from your audience. With 52% of millennials believing brands should be willing to change based on consumer opinion, ignoring the opinion of millennials could convey the impression you follow their unfortunate stereotype and therefore they are less likely to use your service or purchase your products. Including feedback questions, that are accessible via all devices, is a great way to make customers feel involved and valued, especially when 70% of millennials feel a responsibility to share customer feedback with companies after a good or bad experience.

Research also proposes that the millennial generation are the most interested in accelerated communication, multi-tasking, staying connected and immediate gratification. 80% of millennials admitted they want brands to entertain them, whilst 40% want to participate in the co-creation and products of the brand. This generation has less interest in traditional marketing methods.


Return on Investment (ROI):

If you are investing money into producing marketing campaigns, being able to calculate your ROI is a must. With 79% of millennials making at least one phone call a day, call tracking (for example as provided by Mediahawk) allows a business to track the time and date of a call whilst providing a comprehensive report on the ROI of individual marketing channels. This is essential for optimising your digital campaigns further.


CRM Integration for Closed-loop:

Integrating call tracking with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system means you can precisely calculate the ROI to produce data on how much you spend on a specific channel, how many calls you received and how many actually turned into sales.

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Zoe-Lee Skelton has a keen interest in SEO and content and email marketing, and has run successful campaigns for large and small companies across a variety of sectors. In her spare time she likes to blog about art and lifestyle and continues to develop her own artwork.

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