New report busts myths about millennials and their digital and social behaviour

New Millennial Index study by Redshift Research and and Bite also introduces five emerging digital personas in an effort to help marketers better engage with the younger generation of digital natives

A new report into the social and online habits of the millennial generation claims to undermine several popular myths about the digitally native generation, while introducing a new set of behavioural –based personas for marketers to consider.

The new Millennial Index of US and UK consumers between 17 and 31 years of age was produced by Redshift Research and communications agency, Bite, and sought to delve into the online behavioural motivators for the younger generation, as well as their use of social media platforms and different devices.

While most marketers believe millennials dedicate a large proportion of their time to social media, the report challenged the myth, pointing out only 41 per cent spend more than three hours a week on Facebook, while 43 per cent don’t use Twitter at all. Those who are online for longer periods of time claim not only to be involved in social activities, but also researching via work/study-related online forums and user groups.

The report found the average millennial spends 108 hours per year browsing the Internet for work or study, a figure nearly on par with time spent texting. In addition, 77 hours a year are devoted to reading news online, compared with 71 hours on Twitter and 36 hours looking at celebrity gossip.

While mobile connectivity is becoming increasingly pervasive, the study reported 65 per cent of millennials spend more time accessing the Internet via a laptop or desktop PC than they do on newer devices. However, 52 per cent do watch streamed films or TV programs on mobile devices, and 39 per cent using video chat on their smartphone or tablet.

And while half of male millennials listed gaming as a hobby, 37 per cent of overall respondents ranked books as a popular pastime, and 61 per cent of female millennials are more likely to spend their time reading books.

The perception of millennials behaving the same digitally is also a fallacy. Redshift found consumers exhibit a diverse range of behaviours digitally and shouldn’t be treated as a homogenous group.

What is apparent is the rising popularity of visual-based interaction as part of the online experience. According to the report, 60 per cent of millennials are on YouTube at least an hour a week, and one in four spend more than three hours a week streaming film online.

“This shift to a more visual, video-based online culture will be an increasingly important consideration for marketers wanting to effectively engage with the millennial generation,” the report authors stated. In a sign of what’s motivating the next generation, 77 per cent of respondents said ‘determination’ is a secret to success, and 77 per cent believed it was ‘hard work’. Twenty-per cent also want to be successful entrepreneurs.

Why the new age of digital marketing is about intuition and engagement
Australians use up nearly a day a week online
Some teens may indeed be anti-Facebook

“Millennials are a generation that is growing up to favour a scientific and pragmatic approach to life,” the report authors claimed. “Millennials increasingly rebel against spin and instinctive or emotional arguments. Instead it is one in which rational opinions of perceived experts are highly regarded, where emotional appeals from non-experts are great with scepticism.

“This cynical view is also extended to traditional sources of news and information such as journalists and politicians, leading millennials to rely more on the views of their friends, peers and people they regard as experts.”

Based on its findings, Redshift and Bite have devised five emerging personas which they claim showcase the different aspirations and motives for these consumers. These are:

  • Digital Window shoppers (28 per cent) – less engaged than their peers, less likely to influence peer opinion. That said, their own consumer habits can be strongly influenced by what they see online.

  • Digital socialites (24 per cent) – highly social, active participants in online communities and social networks.

  • Dynamic media junkies (21 per cent) – immersed in a culture of dynamic media such as video clips, animation and streamed film/TV. They are also highly technically literate.

  • Casually engaged (16 per cent) – less engaged in the digital world compared to their peers; more likely to be unemployed or in low-paid jobs with less access to technology.

  • The emerging technocracy (11 per cent) – Born leaders, strongly engaged with the digital world and influencing a large number of their peers. They tend to be the highest earners and are twice as likely to own a business or hold senior management positions.

The Millennial Index was based on a survey of 2002 individuals in the US and US over August 2013 involved 144 questions.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook:

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

For marketers, data is the customer

In this cluttered environment, effective marketing is all about the delivery of relevant, personal content where and when a customer is most likely to engage with it. However, only 21 per cent of marketers currently believe they’re achieving this. Why?

Corinne Sklar

Global CMO, Bluewolf

An analyst, a creative and a technologist all walk into a bar…

It’s time to get rid of departmental silos. Not just talk about it. Do it.

The hidden cost of organisation silos

How do you design and deliver exceptional customer experience in an organisation that still behaves in functional silos?

Graham Winter

Australian psychologist and author

I do not get it...?Why would anyone pay extra for something they can make (copy the ingredients as listed for a mogul) themselves using ...

Girl Downunder

Domino’s Pizza Mogul puts product creation and marketing in consumers’ hands

Read more

eHarmony, is a 15 years old obsolete site and a HOAX, based on a big scientific fraud, only sustained by big marketing budget.The normati...


How eHarmony’s date with data has lifted customer conversions

Read more

Ujwal,I agree with many of your points. Great article. I like the point about tracking the things we believe are important then makes t...


Why marketing analytics is not about ROI calculation, but innovation

Read more

Great! Growing mobile marketing has integrates with CRM, point-of-sales, email, SMS and other data and includes targeting, retargeting, a...

Beacon Application

Australian grown mobile marketing platform secures BetAmerica deal

Read more

If anyone could comment on the calculations used to estimate the $10,000,000 loss in brand value I would appreciate hearing from you. joh...


VW scandal knocks $10bn off auto company's brand value and threatens German reputation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in