Not all millennials are created equal: study

A new MTM study shows that while people aged 18 to 34 unite in areas like smartphone use and OTT, Gen Y and Gen Z differ on tech tools like tablets and wearables.
mobileShutterstock

For anyone trying to reach millennials, a recent study by the Media Technology Monitor (MTM) shows that some tech habits vary greatly among the group of young adults.

The study is brand new to MTM and is the first report in an ongoing series in which the research company looks at technology adoption among different generations. The data is based on telephone interviews with 4,000 Anglophone Canadians of all ages, separated evenly into different age groups (Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X, baby boomers and seniors).

For the purpose of the study, millennials were divided into two major groups: Generation Y (27 to 34) and Generation Z (18 to 26). While the two groups did have many common traits — such as the ability to pick and choose what content platforms they watch when they want to watch, or their love of smartphones — there are some major differences in technology adoption between the two groups. The study also compares millennials with older Canadians – anyone over the age of 35.

In some cases, Gen Y millennials have more in common with Gen X, boomers and seniors than with Gen Z.

For one thing, tablets appear to be less hot among the younger millennials — 59% of Gen Y use tablets (moreso than older respondents — 54% of them use the devices), but only 45% of Gen Z uses tablets. The iPad is the most popular among all demographics.

Also loved more by Gen Y are wearable devices such as FitBits and smart watches. While 20% of Gen Y use any type of wearable, only 9% of Gen Z own any (14% of older respondents own some kind of wearable).

Gen Z texts less than Gen Y — 82% of older millennials report to sending and receiving texts, while 74% of younger millennials report that. Instead, the younger millennials veer more toward third-party messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, What’s App and Snapchat.

For social network of choice, Gen Z outpaces Gen Y in Facebook, (85% versus 82%), Instagram (47% to 36%), Snapchat (47% to 16%), Twitter (39% to 29%) and Tumblr (19% to 6%). Gen Y veered more toward Pinterest (30% versus 23%), LinkedIn (36% to 21%) and Reddit (15% to 13%).

The only social networking site which older respondents used more frequently than any group was LinkedIn — 22% of respondents over 35 use the professional networking site, edging out Gen Z by a single percent point.

But millennials old(er) and young do unite on several major areas of technology consumption, especially when compared to older generations. Virtually all millennials own smartphones (97% of Gen Z, 96% of Gen Y), as opposed to 70% of older respondents.

Both sets of millennials are also likely to have never subscribed to a cable service (45% of Gen Z and 41% of Gen Y, as opposed to 25% of older Canadians), although cord-cutting rates differ across the board (43% of Gen Z, 52% of Gen Y and 66% of older Canadians).

Unsurprisingly, they’re big fans of OTT and online TV including Netflix and YouTube — 95% (Gen Z) and 93% (Gen Y) watch content on Netflix, as opposed to 82% of older Canadians. More than 90% of both sets of millennials watch YouTube (versus 61% of older Canadians) while 35% (Gen Z) and 32% (Gen Y) watch full TV shows on YouTube, as opposed to 14% of older Canadians.