The “digital native” generations that include millennials and younger Generation Z are very aware of their digital footprint, according to a study by Bank of America, the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets after JPMorgan Chase. Fifty-four percent of millennials and Gen Z, ages 13-17, are Googling themselves regularly, with 10% self-searching on a daily basis.
Gen Zers would give up daily “must-haves” to remain connected to their mobile device for the day, including television (80%), tablets (78%) and gaming systems (64%). Nearly one-third would even give up their friends or money (28%).
Gen Zers appear to live by the mantra: “if you can’t say it in 140 characters or less, don’t say it at all,” according to the study. Gen Z is significantly more likely than their older counterparts to use emojis (95%, compared with 79%), social media (88%, compared with 77%), acronyms (87%, compared with 69%) and even selfies (81%, compared with 45%) to converse with others.
Smartphones have radically transformed the way people converse, to the point that making a phone call or leaving a voicemail is almost considered rude. Marketers need to understand these dynamics to remain relevant to their customers. Americans turn to mobile as their go-to news source, with many learning about the following prominent events through digital channels: Prince’s death (45%), Brexit (33%), the Oscars’ “Best Picture” flub (30%) and the U.S. presidential election results (22%).
Smartphones are also affecting the way families behave, particularly between parents and children. Forty-eight percent of parents say mobile has a positive effect on their family life, but many parents are instituting digital boundaries in the household: a ban on texting and driving (66%), mobile phones at the dinner table (52%), and emailing or texting during a conversation (43%) as the most popular.
As for financial services, millennials are the most likely generation to turn to an app during key life events, including saving for college (45%), planning for retirement (35%) and buying a home (34%), the study found. Overall, 62% of Americans use their bank’s mobile app, up from 54% last year. More than four in five access their mobile banking app at least once a week, with 29% checking their app daily, according to Bank of America.