NEW YORK — If the emoji movie wasn’t symbolic enough of today’s youth, perhaps this will rattle your foundation: A new survey finds that 7 in 10 millennials and the younger Gen Z prefer to communicate digitally — mostly by text message — than in person.
Researchers at LivePerson, a business solutions provider, polled more than 4,000 young adults under between age 18 and 34 in a handful of Western nations, helping them discover the priorities and preferences of today’s millennials and Gen Z.
Globally, 65 percent of those surveyed indicated they talk to peers more frequently via texting or a mobile, but that number is even higher in English-speaking nations. In both the United States and in the United Kingdom, about 74 percent of millennials and Gen Z communicate digitally more frequently with others.
As for the tool of choice for digital correspondence, about 73 percent of Americans and 74 percent of those in the UK prefer text messages. That number dipped to about 69 percent globally.
The survey also discovered another odd quirk of today’s young adults: about 62 percent would rather forget their wallet at home than their phone when going out.
Seventy percent of the participants said that they slept within arm’s length of their phone, and a hair more than half said they’d check their phone for any notifications should they wake up in the middle of the night.
When it comes to bathroom breaks, nearly 66 percent brought their device with them to the toilet, which highlights the ubiquity of connectivity.
Large minorities believed it was fine to use their phone in contexts that would likely be considered improper by elders, such as at the dining table (42 percent) or in the middle of a conversation (28 percent).
Nearly 70 percent of the group surveyed said they could see a future in which all purchases are made online, and most young consumers prioritized using technology when they needed assistance with a product or service.
“We wanted to look more closely at the younger consumer audience, across different countries, and in more depth than the well-known trope that young people love their smartphones,” says Rurik Bradbury, LivePerson’s global head of communications and research, of the study’s origins, in a press release. “What we see in the research data is the phone truly becoming an extension of the self, and the platforms and apps within it— digital life— occupying more than their offline interactions.”
The poll reached millennials and Gen Z members across six countries— the U.S., the UK, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan — in mid-September.
Administered by independent research firm Survata, participants received no compensation for their input.
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