Study: How Millennials Consume News & Social Media on Smartphones (Infographic)

Technology advances have in a big way put a bridge between the old and young generations.  The 19th and 20th century were marked with Americans thirsting for information and therefore seeking for news in every way possible. This trend is still common in today’s adults who are over the age of 40. It is not uncommon to find them reading print newspapers, watching the television, listening to the radio and visiting news sites as they aim at quenching their news curiosity.

What of the young generation?

Today’s young generation aged 18-34, also known as millennials or Generation Y, have an entirely different perspective in their news consumption. According to our 2016 Smartphone User Behavior Report: Millennials & Their Smartphone Habits, this generation prefers using social media and mobile apps to discover news. The report further reveals that more than 85% of American millennials possess Smartphones, a fact that has facilitated the consumption of news through mobile devices in this digital era. 

To understand these details even better, we conducted a survey that involved 2,000 millennials uncovering how they check news and use social media. Check this infographic and below find other interesting findings adopted from the report.

The millennial’s favorite platforms for checking news

Social networks are the main reason more and more Millennials are purchasing Smartphones. Developers seem to understand the young people’s interests and are therefore working hard to create numerous platforms to keep them updated. Currently, both the older and younger millennials agree on six platforms that seem to be their all time favorite on matters pertaining news and connections. However, the more elderly millennials tend to be more vibrant on Facebook while the younger ones’ enthusiasm in on Instagram and Twitter.

1. Facebook

69% of the millennials get their news on Facebook. Although Zuckerberg’s initial plan when developing Facebook was for it to become a global connection, the social network platform has become the most popular site especially for the women. Interestingly, of the people who use the platform, 39% of them are those on maternity and paternity leave. The older Millennials also seem to be great fans of Facebook, since only a few high school students show interest in the site.

2. News apps

News apps have been on the rise in the recent years as a way to keep the world informed. 41% of the millennials have taken the advantage of the apps by using them to get quick information on matters that interest them. Although every young person has at least one news app in their Smartphones, South Asians, and Indian American entrepreneurs seem to have the most apps. Even then, men are perceived to have more interest in the apps than women. Millennials aged 30 and above also tend to have more apps probably because of their growing curiosity to know more about the global happenings.  It is, however, hard to understand why millennials in their maternity and paternity leave have very few news apps on their devices.

3. Instagram

33% of this Generation Y are Instagram enthusiasts. High school students aged 18-22 seem to be the favorite fans of the site. Sadly, besides using Instagram to check news, research shows these millennials are more likely to use Instagram to sext. Least on Instagram favorites are young parents, South Asians and Indian Americans, all who take 11%.

4. Twitter

Like Instagram, Twitter is more popular among the high school students aged 18-22 years. This social network has also been widely embraced by the millennials of Middle Eastern and Arab American origin. On the other hand, South Asians, Indian Americans, and millennials on maternity and paternity leave have little or no interest on Twitter.

5. Podcasts

Interestingly, very few millennials use podcasts to check the news. In fact, the younger millennials might not be aware of the site’s existence. However, the platform’s popularity may soon gain momentum especially because young entrepreneurs, as well as Native Americans and Alaskan natives, are slowly gaining interest by using their Smartphones to listen to podcasts.

The smartphone usage in the morning

The first activity a fifty-year-old man is likely to do once he wakes up is to buy a newspaper, watch television or probably turn on the radio. On the other hand, a young man will grab his Smartphone even before stepping out of his bed to check on latest news of what happened during his sleep.

These details have been proved correct by the 2016 Smartphone user behavior report that states that 55% of millennials always check the social media first thing in the morning. Some will check and update their social media networks, check for new emails, send and SMS or make a call, check for news or take a look at the day’s schedule.

Those who often check and update the social network are mostly college students and those on maternity and paternity leave. Unemployed individuals, Latino or Hispanic Americans are also at the forefront in this morning activity. Entrepreneurs, old millennials, Native Americans and Alaskan natives are on the other hand less likely to check and update the various social media platforms in the morning.

However, when it comes to checking news in the morning, 18% of entrepreneurs and 26 % of South Asian or Indian Americans are very vibrant. 12% of college students and East Asian or Asian Americans, however, show no interest in browsing news in the morning.

Interestingly, those who check the news in the morning feel that Smartphones make them smarter as they start the day on a positive. This is because they check the device only when there is the need to browse news, unlike social media checkers who take every opportunity to update the forums.

The millennials view on advantages of owning a smartphone

According to the report, 52% of the surveyed millennials feel that the greatest advantage that Smartphones offer them is the ability to check the news at any given time. However, they believe that the mobile device could provide other bigger services such as finding locations when lost, playing games, online shopping and connecting with loved ones.

Even then, some opportunities offered by Smartphones are less important to them. They include paying bills, easing travel by using services like Uber and taxis, ordering food online and surfing for information.

The smartphone effects on relationships

Smartphone technology has both positively and negatively influenced romantic relationships. 29% of millennials view Smartphones as a positive contributor that has played a role in improving their relationship. Most of those who feel the positivity are 39% of the young millennials, 23% of the high school students, 22% of the entrepreneurs, 20% men and 15% women. 17% of non-Hispanic white and Euro-Americans, as well as most of those on maternity and paternity leave, don’t share the same sentiments.

22% of millennials, however, feel that Smartphones have changed their relationships for the worst. The greatest supporters of this negative ideology are 31% of younger Millennials, 31% of younger Millennials, 18% of East Asian or Asian Americans, 17% of high school students, 16% of the college students and 16% of entrepreneurs. 13% of non-Hispanic white or Euro-Americans, as well as 9% of those on maternity and paternity leave, do not support this fact, though.

The funniest bit

As the Smartphone obsession among millennials keeps growing, the report shows that 85% of the generation Y prolong the usage to the toilet. 42% will carry the phone with them to watch videos and read articles while 19% will check social media updates and also make calls. Surprisingly, those likely to take the device to the toilet are entrepreneurs, high school students and those on maternity and paternity leave.


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Jul 17, 2016