Millennials Point Toward Mobile-First Future

millennial smartphoneRecognized as the canaries in the digital media coal mine, millennials' tech tastes and consumption habits are watched more closely than any one group.

In what directions are millennials leaning of late? For one, no other demographic is dropping their TV remote controls at a faster rate, according to new research expected to be released this week by digital ad firm YuMe and the IPG Media Lab.

In particular, male millennials watched 10% less TV in 2012 than they did in 2011, while female millennials watched 7% less TV over the same period of time.

Even more remarkable, millennials -- ages 18-to-24 -- consume the majority of their video content via smartphone (about 20%); just over 15% via tablet devices; just under 15% via PC; less than 10% via live TV; and less than 7.5% via DVR devices.

Just because millennials prefer their phones over widescreen TVs, however, does not mean these consumers are always on the go. On the contrary, nearly all (99%) reporting watching videos via smartphone at home. And notably, 54% report watching videos via smartphone at friends’ homes -- more than any other demographic.

“I think it's really interesting that there's so much in-person social video viewing happening (e.g., at a friend's house),” said Tim McAtee, VP of research product development at IPG. “Physically sharing mobile video in person is surprisingly common, though less common than sharing online.”

“We saw a lot of examples in the open ends of people pulling out their phones or tablets to show off video clips during parties or gatherings with their friends,” McAtee noted. “In a world where no one seems to watch live TV anymore, whatever trending video clip is currently making the rounds seems to be the new topic of water-cooler conversation.”

Meanwhile, while TVs are now a small part of the millennial diet, TV shows are playing especially well among this fickle audience.

In fact, the majority of the video content that millennials consume is one TV show or another (37%), followed by user-generated content (33%); movies (28%); music videos (19%); news video (13%); “personal” videos (11%); and “Web” videos (10%).

Using smartphones or tablets, millennials are more likely than any other demographic to rely on particular applications to view video.

Millennials are also far and away the biggest multitaskers. Indeed, a whopping 94% report multitasking media consumption on a regular basis, compared to 87% of Gen-X consumers, and 80% of Baby Boomers.  

Unfortunately for advertisers, millennials’ multitasking makes it less likely these hard-to-reach consumers will recall marketing messages. Across channels, millennials demonstrated consistently lower ad-recall rates than those of other demos.

Still, “it’s … very interesting that this group never seems to stop multitasking,” McAtee said of the millennials. "We saw in the open-ends that when watching video on a tablet, they'll pull out their phone and use that as the second screen."

If advertisers can successfully get the attention of millennials, however, the medium they use appears to be just as important as the message.

For example, millennials associate mobile ads (and video ads in particular) with "modern brands" 6.7% of the time, while they consider TV and PC advertisers to be “modern only about 3% of the time."

What's more, millennials agree with the notion that any brand with a mobile video ad is likely “on its way up.”

“I love that the message really is the medium when advertising on a smartphone, and that millennials are clearly viewing brands on smartphones as having a halo of cool simply for being there,” McAtee added.

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1 comment about "Millennials Point Toward Mobile-First Future".
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston , November 15, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.
    A glimpse of the future.