Survey: Most millennials, Gen Z adults prefer texting over talking in person

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.

Young women using smartphones
A new survey finds that 7 in 10 millennials and those who make up the younger Gen Z cohort prefer to communicate digitally with others than in person.

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.


    1. Been going on for 10 years. Have you been to a school to pick up your kid from Kindergarten? No other parents want to talk, to busy tapping and swiping. Been on a city bus, stood in a line anywhere, or even noticed the people around you? They are all droned out. Watching America slowly drone out and tap/swipe their way into a mental fog is quite sad actually. It’s almost like they are unwittingly admitting themselves to the Matrix and don’t even realize it. Yikes.

      1. I have even caught myself doing this occasionally and I am 48 – certainly not a millennial. I take Lyft and Uber a lot and start to mess with my phone the moment I get in so that I don’t have to make small talk. I know it is wrong. When I catch myself doing it, I go out of my way to initiate conversation.

      2. Just as it was planned…
        They dont call it the NET and the WEB for nothing….
        It’s all a program for global human enslavement and were marching right on into it…
        The MATRIX wasn’t a mere “movie”…it was a prophecy

        1. Luckily, my parents did not rely on the public education for teaching me everything. Too bad many parents did not do the same.

    1. Reminds me of the song “So much cooler on line” by Brad Paisley.
      If you haven’t heard it, check it out. Pretty funny and so, so true.

    1. This generation was “lost” when their parents decided it was “someone else” job to raise them and not teach them personal accountability and critical thinking. It’s a shame the offspring of The Greatest Generation did such a poor job of raising their own children.

      1. When women chose employment over ‘stay at home mom’, dual incomes spiked the price of everything. Now most couple must have both incomes just to get by. No one left to raise the kids. This has been a disastrous wound to both the Family Unit and the Social Fabric. Is there really any wonder there are so many social problems?
        BTW, I’m not intentionally blaming or disparaging anyone for wanting a career or a life ‘bigger than the house’.
        What I am alluding to is not enough time and priority seems to be given to raising the next generation. Not in all cases, of course, but collectively.

      2. I think you are a bit off your generations. My parents where of the Greatest generation, I’m a boomer, my children are not Zs !
        I have 3 children. One is a Dr. of emergency medician, one is an engineer (masters degree) for NASA, and one has a degree in physics working for UK.
        My wife has a doctors degree in astronomy (retired) and I am a retired manufacturing manager (engineer, retired).
        My grand children are not be helpless.
        That is family planning.

    2. My 7 year old nephew visited last week. He was beyond addicted to the screen. Once his Ipad was dead he was screaming (literally) for someone’s phone to tide him over until his Ipad recharged. He ate with his Ipad. He couldn’t dress himself because my lousy sister-in-law would dress him so he wouldn’t become upset by having to put his Ipad down. I really don’t think he knew where he was most of the time. I will no longer waste my money buying him toys because he obviously doesn’t use them.

  1. This is due to the entire last generation of hyper sensitive pussies. They like to be tough behind a keyboard and a screen name…. Like I am doing right now 😉

    1. Also some of these freaks when agitated instead of saying do you want to fight they now say “do you want to dance? Its amazing these weirdos are everywhere,law enforcement you name it. Thats why things are getting worse in the usa every year.

      1. “Most of the people you encounter in those age groups have no social skills whatsoever.”
        I’d rather be in an age group with no social skills than the one that sold out the American empire just to guarantee a better quality of life than their parents AND their children. Respect my ass.

          1. You are brave on a device. I wonder how you would be toe to toe, face to face. That is the point of the article.

        1. You seem to be enjoying all that (whatever) was sold out for. You are responsible for you ,stop blaming others for your colossal failure in life

        2. Earning respect is not something leaders (i.e., politicians, CEOs, etc.) care about. I keep hearing how older folks sold younger ones down the river. The truth is that globalism has been a practice for decades in the United States. Industries are happy to take manufacturing and send to China. My company made plans back in the 70s, and most of the assembly line workers were gone by the mid 90s. Even when we vote against candidates who initiate these ruinous policies, it does not change. If voting really changed anything, they would abolish it.

          1. The only problem i have with your post is that older generations refuse to take responsibility for this “globalism” that has just mystically “been in practice for decades.” (while simultaneously trying to shame all young people for their lack of “responsibility” and “texting too much.”) These nameless, faceless “industries” that you blame are comprised of PEOPLE. Why were you/they all so asleep at the wheel? “Voting doesn’t change anything?” Ever heard the quote “those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable”?

          2. Many folks have been beaten down for just fighting the system. What exactly do you advocate should occur if the company you work for is sending job to China? The union shops went on strike, others tried legal methods; nothing kept this giant boulder from rolling us down. The corporations will always have more lawyers. I lived through it. Why were we asleep? We knew what was happening and tried to warn or change things but inevitably you become inured and need to take care you don’t end up in harm’s way. I don’t know how old you are, but we had very little recourse in way of publicizing or communicating what we could see was the outcome of business policies.
            I do agree that perhaps there will be a breaking point soon. Have you read 2030 by Albert Brooks? It’s very interesting; about how the young will revolt against the privileged old. I can see something like a new French Revolution erupting, followed by breakdown in society I hope not, but everything is becoming very abnormal.
            The stock market has risen so high on borrowed money and quantitative easing policies. There should have been a crash before now. Maybe that will be the catalyst.

          3. You in particular might have been awake, but enough people weren’t that the wool got pulled over their eyes. This idea that it’s hopeless and that things are “good enough” so just “go along to get along” is at the crux of the issue. I notice that attitude in my parents. “Don’t make waves.”
            To that I say, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men stand by and do nothing.” That’s what it seems to me has happened.
            Maybe it was an uphill battle against vast armies of lawyers, but a lot of people decided they’d rather live on their knees than die on their feet. Their prerogative, but seems mighty cowardly.
            I haven’t read the book, looking into it now. I see the same, especially with the recent attacks by Trump on the bread and circuses (NFL and Weinstein). You’re spot on about the market as well… ultimately the FED has ruined us. How it will play out is anyone’s guess, but it is gonna hurt.

          4. Good luck to you, young ‘un! I hope you can see change that was not forthcoming in my lifetime. The legal, political, and law enforcement cabal does take a toll on anyone.

          5. Thanks, and you as well! We’re gonna need all the luck, prayers, incantations, and charms we can find to right this ship.

        3. You have none either.
          They can believe as they wish, and will reap the results, just as every generation has.

          1. Another one who was complicit in the downfall of the greatest empire of self governance in history, taking potshots about arbitrarily defined “social skills.” Sad!

  2. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Most of the people you encounter in those age groups have no social skills whatsoever.

        1. Then all they have to do is communicate by email.

          The problem is that when all you can do is communicate in this manner, by text or twitter, you do not need to develop social skills and the ability to communicate with people face to face.

          1. If they are waiting tables they don’t have a choice but to communicate and it dictates how much they make, same in retail.

          2. Could these people (who live by the “device”) survive in a world of the sixties, when you used pay phones and mail?
            Oh, Poop, I just did it!

          3. Really, I do not think they could if the cell towers went down and the internet was turned off. Most would not know what to do. They would have to get out and “actually like” talk to people.

          4. You asked, “Could these people (who live by the “device”) survive in a world of the sixties, when you used pay phones and mail? ”

            My reply is that, yes they could as they would not have been raised with the cell phone.
            This issue is more the way they were raised, parents who want to be “friends’ and not parents and with cell phones so that they are connected 24/7.
            These people do not know how to talk to people.

          5. Sir, you miss the point. Which is, if they could not use their devices, now, could they survive in a social ( face to face) atmosphere of the 1960s or earlier?
            I think not, you think they could. We will see what happens should the grid go down (for whatever reason).
            I will survive, can you, can they?

          6. Eventually yes.
            Now, no as they have never developed their social skills.
            This is also why I think the younger people have issues with manners and allowing anyone to speak their mind.

          7. Please define what you mean by eventually. Right now we need people who live in reality. People need to operate in both the real world and in the web world. Operating only in the web world is a set up for failure. Operating without the web is living in a cave of 5000 years ago and therefore failure. There is a need for balance.
            This needs to be taught at home and reinforced in the educational process. Currently neither happens, and this will be OUR failure.

          8. No, that’s because they have been pumped full of “You’re The Best”, ” You’re Special”, participation trophies (You’re not better than me) and especially parents that run interference for them in every situation and never believe their kid could be wrong (as they stand behind their mom or dad and flip you off). Colleges and universities are reporting big increases in parents calling administrators and teachers/professors to intercede for their kids like they are lawyers on retainer…

          9. Now you are talking bout the stupid parents being unable to deal with raising a child to the point they are afraid to “injure” their fragile little phyche, so you end up with people who are not capable of dealing with the real world.

        2. Would you want to pay them for their time? Remember, as an employer, you need to make a profit to survive. How profitable will these digital zombies be when their only world experiences will be in the virtual one?

  3. That’s because, like, they don’t really, like, know *how* to, like, speak. Like you know, like, what I, like, mean?

    1. Exactly. Poor educators and model citizens. It’s a shame their parents did not teach accountability and critical thinking. But I guess it was deemed “someone else job” by that generation.

    2. Omg I was fishing at the lake last year and 3 girls were paddle boarding and using like 30 freaking times in 2 minutes and in 2 sentences. It took all of my will not to go out and beat them to death with their stupid paddles!????!

  4. I enjoy watching the older generations make fun of Millennials. Example: “They received participation trophies”.. HA.. yeah, because it was their idea, not the generation of parents who coddled them.

  5. …..and because of this they can’t handle a direct conversation. A pointed & mildly heated exchange drives them to the “puppy room”. A vigorous Debate on important issues ?? Forget it. That will not happen. No way they can deal with that. Sad.

    They better learn to deal with people face to face in a respectful way. It may get emotional, but never violent. Debate facts, not opinions. Speak calmly. And if necessary, agree to disagree & move on.

    Compromise is not a dirty work. It’s the answer.

  6. This is spelling the end of the Financial Advising industry as we speak. Just as tellers are a dying breed so will be guys in suits sitting behind desks “trading”. I’m leaving the business because all the people over 70 and have the money love talking on the phone. All the people under 60 with no money only want email and text. No thanks, I’ll move on. Sad actually. Thankfully, I made mine, paid off debts, and will watch from the sidelines.

  7. Yes we know, it’s because they are stupid. Text messaging is a step backwards in the evolution of communications.

    1. True. We’ve come so far. First it took days to send a letter via mail. Then we could call on the phone. Then, we take the phone with us as we travel. We even invented the George Jetsons version of teleconferencing via Skype and people are like no thanks…let’s type words out on a small device. WTF?
      Honestly, the droned out behavior of people with text and social media is a microcosm of the bigger picture problems.

    2. Good point! We have the most advanced forms of communication ever conceived, but let’s tap our words out one. letter. at. a. time. instead. smiley. face. emoji. here.

  8. This is due to many factors. Inability to speak correctly,social retardation,just plain stupid and emotional problems only god understands as some of these people also are illegal and hide to commit fraud. They are so dumbed down and emotionally paranoid and have such low self esteem they are hiding from themselves.
    Teachers during the obama admin. have destroyed these people and they have no sense of confidence nor the actual ability to carry on a conversation or express their opinion.
    Totally sickening and if somebody cant speak to me and only wants to text then I have no interest in dealing with them.
    Again fraudsters are using this big time so be careful.

  9. There is very good reason that the millennials are referred to as “the dumbest generation.” They prove it every single day.

  10. Lack of Physical Proximity Contact – When the human experience becomes inhumane

    Since the dawn of evolution encounters between humans were made in the physical realm. Over millennia we have adapted skills in reading our fellow inhabitants. Until the advent of writing and the slow march of its mass implementation, physical proximity contact was the only means of measuring up and communicating with others. The term “body language” comes from an innate ability to read signs and subtleties in another’s physical stance and movement. Facial expressions, sweaty palms a tendency to avoid eye contact give us clues as to the possibility of hidden intent. These skills have become crucial in many aspects of human life, from starting or avoiding wars to success in business. The absence of a physical forum to exercise these instincts will inevitably lead to isolationism amongst similar minded idealist, further widening the rift that may swallow us all.

    The problem associated with the growing lack of physical proximity contact is the gradual dehumanization of other humans. The growing basis for modern human interaction comes in the form of text and pictures. These interludes that interrupt our real lives normally include muses or a sharing of delights in one’s life. But, all too often they are spews from a platform of self righteousness and self promotion. In this virtual vacuum where accountability is lost in the ether, tough talk and vile rhetoric are easily regurgitated without the fear of physical retribution. This perpetual diatribe continues to feed the anger and disrepute of all participants, creating a perfect storm for division.

    The simplest of messages can be utterly misconstrued in the non physical medium. In the absence of inflection and tone, misinterpretation becomes the norm. This can have a profound affect on our prolonged interactive attitudes. As we began to blend with our devices, we no longer view our fellow communicants as humans. In doing so we began to degrade as well, slipping down into the mire with all those who would dare disagree with us. This desensitization to human regard coupled with a lack of self and mutual respect is exacerbated when we no longer have to face physical proximity contact. We relegate our existence in the virtual safety of our virtual world devoid of all things that make us Human Being.

    1. Mostly agree, but I have also noticed a lack of respecting physical space.
      In the last few years people tend to pay more attention to their device than what is going on around them, to include others standing in front of them. A person with a roller bag at the airport, reading/texting on his phone, kept cutting in front of others without any respect for their travel. He ran over my feet and also those of several others. A middle aged woman (are we allowed to say that any more?) kicked his roller bag and proceeded to dress him down. He did not even look at her. So much for respect and common courtesy.

  11. Me too.. nothing is worse than having your ears raped for hours by someone with nothing to say and then have them repeat it. Over and over. Remember “how,who, what,where,when,why goodbye”

  12. It’s a B.S. way to communicate…if you don’t have enough decency to do it face to face, you’re a coward……what ever happened to handshakes as well?….both a sign of respect to people…..Have we lost our respect for others? I think we have…we need it back…For those people that still do both to people…Thank you!

  13. I’m sure the fact the study was done by a live chat provider(LivePerson) that makes big money off people using text communication didn’t have any effect whatsoever on methodology, sampling, or results.

  14. Le’s face it, it is easier to make a remark that “offends someone”, or is deemed to be “insensitive’, or “hate speech” by talking. Easier to edit your comment in writing, although most do not which memorializes it.

  15. How often do you see families out at dinner with their heads down. Or the toddler with the phone to keep him or her quiet and pacified. “I took my family out so we could all spend some quality time with our phones”.

  16. I am always amazed when we go out to an upscale restaurant and look around; everyone is on there cell phones texting, emailing or whatever… one talks to each other. We all laugh (cell phones not allowed at our table), and at the same time, shake our heads in disbelief! It is a sad commentary on the state of humanity!

  17. True that. This will be a long term problem in business when these people wet themselves because they cant do any thing that feels like negotiation or needing to win others over.

    1. In sales (and we are all in sales) communication is essential and creating a bond with the client! You cannot do that with a cell phone and texting!

    2. I think this is why half of our nation is wetting their pants because Trump is actually *gasp* negotiating with North Korea. Words are scary!!

  18. Mils have no social intelligence so of course they are going to want to communicate electronically. Instead of showing they care, they can slap an emoji at the end of a sentence. That is the problem. They are coming out into the workforce, but have no idea how to deal with people. They don’t know how to compromise and see someone else’s side of things.

  19. I have a question. Let’s see if anybody can answer. What is the next generation called? The ones in grammar school now. They aren’t millennial so what is their name?

  20. Of course, they prefer texting, where illiteracy is affirmed in 140 characters or less.

    …most of these cretins can’t put together a grammatically correct sentence.

    “We really thought [U.S.] Millennials would do better than the general adult population, either compared to older coworkers in the U.S. or to the same age group in other countries,” says Madeline Goodman, an ETS researcher who worked on the study. “But they didn’t. In fact, their scores were abysmal.”

  21. Well, I’m certainly not young, but yes, when it comes to talking to any kind of clerk or bureaucracy, I prefer speaking in emails. It cuts down on the all the small talk and leaves a written transcript. I think it’s more efficient and foolproof.

  22. As an employer, this is a maddening trend. I have to teach my young staff how to use a phone to make a business call. They want to email for everything, and when their emails are not returned they give up saying “The person didn’t answer me.” They are literally afraid of making a phone call! I must say “Pick up the phone and call them” 5 times a day. And they usually respond “But I emailed them.” I’ll ask how far that got them and they look at me blankly. It’s a pity.

    1. I am an old guy. I cannot understand younger folk who talk much too fast over the phone. I prefer email. The younger have not developed a manner to be understood over a phone call. They have not learned to prepare for a business phone call by preparing talking points. and then take notes. These younger folk have not learned those things that make real time conversation work, and probably should be taught how to be more analog in their manner.

      1. Thus my struggle. They have no idea how to make a call! A simple phone call to get a yes/no answer doesn’t warrant the time an email takes to compose. Not that their writing skills are that good either.

    2. This, I agree this is an issue, but have you ever done adult education? These people are there to “improve” themselves and their chances in life, but more attention is paid to the cell than to the task at had.
      I am a retired industrial manufacturing manager (with a a degree), using my time to help people improve themselves. Guess what I do not do anymore?

    3. So, how much money (in time and lost output) do you give up in this babysitting adventure? Bet it’s more than one might think.

    4. Might be time to consider hiring only older workers. And if you are in California, you will have to start paying these adult children 3 months paid maternity leave whenever they squirt out a baby. Think of the headaches you’ll spare yourself by NOT hiring these snowflakes!

  23. Sure they text. There are lots of reasons to text. But there are questions why they prefer texting. Can they remember what they said? Can they understand conversation over a phone with their hearing damage from too loud music? Can they actually speak clearly and coherently in extemporaneous expression?

  24. What comes after Z….
    Exactly… Humanity stops here..
    What do you think Hollywood’s been trying to tell us for the last 20 years??
    Its over for us…

  25. What was the name of that Bruce Willis movie oh ya “Surrogates” was pretty good.this is what we are leading up to..never leave the house or your easy chair…..

  26. Nothing new. People have been communicating digitally for thousands of years,,, I see it all the time when driving…

  27. And the final solution is to hire digital robots to do the work of the increasingly socially inept I see every time I go into a fast food place. I’d rather deal with a robot than some snotty nosed pukes that think I owe them something just for breathing.

  28. Sad commentary on Gen Z. It’s hard to carry on a conversation with them face to face and the phones not a continual distraction. It really is a type of disability.

  29. Remember that modern education has been molded by former terrorist Bill Ayres and other leftists. The youth are being groomed to be hypnotized drones, another step toward slavery.

  30. I never want to do what others are doing. I stare at a computer at work so I don’t want to play with a phone in my free time. No one is doing anything very important on these phones. I just see people checking the junk email and playing games. When I get into a taxi or go to a store, everyone wants to talk to me because I am looking around and present in the moment, not tuned out on a device. I am a rarity these days and like it. I will rule the world because I know how to speak and communicate without a device. Now I know why everyone wants to talk to me- a human without a device is such a rare thing these days.

  31. Texting is not communicating . 70% of communication is non verbal. One wonders if they are afraid of the intamacy of real communication.

  32. When parents give kids cell phones at the age of 5 or 6, what can you expect?
    When the parents are texting at dinner and ignoring the kids, what can you expect?
    This is the “devolution” of society and the rise of mass social programming wherein, what
    you see on your phone must be reality. Orwell would be proud.

  33. Two generations that are, for all intents and purposes, socially dysfunctional. And they wonder why people call them snowflakes.

  34. As an adult…I truly feel sorry for this up and coming generation…
    It’s no longer a “couch potato” concern as it was for my age bracket…but now has become a “house potato” scenario where Snowflakes and such will “live” detached from human interaction embracing digitized communication done so in the confines of four walls…

  35. I’ll admit I rarely talk on the phone anymore. A quick text is just so much more convenient. But, still nothing is as pleasurable as having a good face to face conversation with an old friend.

  36. Too easy to be offensive and not pay the price- digitally, while at the same time claiming to be offended by anything and everything. All part of the immature irresponsible nature that’s being taught to kids these days.

  37. good luck nailing that job interview via text. unless it’s for starbucks or the apple store. which is where you millennials belong. and stop looking at me like im a kook when i ask for a regular coffee.

  38. As a 29-year old Millenial, I’m actually surprised by how LOW those findings are (with only ~73% of 18-34 year old Millenials indicating their preferred form of digital communication).
    Even though the study included ~4,000 participants, I would bet significant amounts of money that 89%+ of younger participants (i.e. 18-25 years old) prefer digital over non-digital communications. The reason comes from my background in teaching across several different states, and working with students ages 6-18. Yes, the direct implication of that statement is a clear majority of young children have cell phones, and that “majority” will be become the “overwhelming majority” within 3-5 years.
    In other words, the study missed the mark. Older participants (age 30+) are somewhat less likely to prefer digital communication, as they can remember, “A Time Without Digital Communication” – including no cell phones, tablets, smartwatches, laptops, instant messenger/chatrooms, “You’ve got mail!,” online dating, etc. In fact, the most portable digital items I had were Tamagachis/Digimons and Game Boys (remember those?). More communication was done via phone call, or (for older citizens) letter writing. And, yes, I am a member of that generation; I very clearly remember life prior to the digital revolution and immersion into our lives.
    For that reason, the Millenials (born 1980-2000) can be thought of as in the following groups:
    Oldest Millenials (born 1980-1984) – Lesser preference for digital communication; clearest memories of the pre-digital era of all Millenials
    Middle Millenials (born 1985-1992) – Could go either way; still have clear memories of the pre-digital era, but lesser in pre-digital quantity and impact on way of living
    Younger Millenials (born 1993-1995) – Greater preference for digital communication; fewer to no memories of the pre-digital era, with pre-digital impact having negligible impact on way of living
    Youngest Millenials (born 1995-2000) – Greatest preference for digital communication; no memories of the pre-digital era, as memories must be handed down from older Millenials (above) and previous generations.

  39. I look at it as being a defence mechanism. It’s a way for people to keep a really demanding world at a controllable “arms length.” I’m not suggesting it’s good or bad. But I’m beginning to understand why folks put themselves behind a firewall.

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