Besides relaxing on the beach this past spring break, I was also looking forward to getting away from my phone’s incessant rings, dings and vibrations. This would have been possible, except for one major problem — I couldn’t put my phone down.
It’s no secret that fellow YAYA consumers are just addicted to smartphones. According to a July 2014 Nielsen study, 18- to 24-year-olds spend the most time out of any age group on smartphone apps, clocking in more than 37 hours each month on an average of 28 apps.
At first, this sounded like a ridiculous amount of apps and time. But after I thought about the way I’d used my phone over spring break, the statistic suddenly didn’t seem so crazy. After all, I downloaded the Turbulence Map app to ease my fear of flying. I used a mobile boarding pass for my flights. I booked Uber rides all around town. I Venmo-ed my friends for picking up the bill at dinner. I probably spent more time documenting the ocean view with my phone’s camera than actually stopping to look at the beach. And that was just the first day.
Clearly, smartphones have eliminated the need for so many things, like disposable cameras, maps and a good taxi wave. Their next victim? Our wallets.
Brands can expect the smartphone-obsessed YAYA market to embrace mobile payment apps in the very near future. While it’s true that current millennial usage of mobile payment apps like Google Wallet or Apple Pay is low, experts anticipate a change in 2015.
According to a recent FICO study, 32 percent of millennials said that they are “very likely to use mobile payment providers in the next 12 months,” compared to just 8 percent of respondents aged 50 or over who said the same. What’s more, a study by J. Walter Thompson found that 44 percent of millennials would rather use their mobile phone than cash to pay for small items, and that 70 percent think “the way we pay for pay for things will be totally different in 5 years.” Seventy percent! I can already picture my future explaining to my children what a wallet was.
So if there is one thing brands can bank on, it’s that millennials will become increasingly dependent, both mentally and financially, on their smartphones. My advice to brands looking to appeal to the YAYA market: give us opportunities to pay with our beloved smartphones and reap the benefits. We’ll not only be impressed with your staying ahead of the curve — we’ll thank you for it with our dollars (hopefully, with a simple swipe!).