US Millennials 2019

Gauging Their Digital Usage as They Settle into Real Adulthood

Executive Summary

In their younger days, millennials had time for any digital novelty that came along. But now (at ages 23 to 38, by our definition), more and more of them are true adults—with careers, spouses, kids and homes. This spills over to how they use digital technology.

Have millennials reached standard milestones of adulthood?

The older ones have. Among those in their 30s, majorities are married, have kids and own homes. In ways that transcend mere biological age, they’re not adolescents anymore.

Do they fit the stereotype of millennials as constant, all-day-long mobile users?

They do when it comes to smartphones. We estimate that 94.2% of millennials will be smartphone users this year. Penetration is far lower for tablets (56.4%), smart speakers (37.3%) and wearables (35.0%)—partly an indication of how much mileage millennials get out of their phones.

Like teens, are millennials shunning Facebook?

No, especially not older millennials. So much of their contact with far-flung relatives and friends is based there that it would be hard to leave. And compared with teens, they’re less apt to care whether Facebook is uncool.

Has digital video replaced traditional TV for millennials?

Not altogether, though time spent with TV is declining. We estimate that digital video viewer penetration will be higher this year than TV viewer penetration among millennials (unlike older generations), at 89.2% vs. 79.4%. Still, older millennials spend roughly two hours a day with TV.

Has ecommerce caught on with millennials?

Of course. We estimate that 84.8% will be digital buyers this year. Amazon is a major force, with one survey identifying a majority of millennials as Prime members. But their shopping often combines digital and in-store.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report examines millennials’ usage of digital technology—including smartphones, social media, digital video and ecommerce—as the generation moves into serious adulthood.

KEY STAT: Millennials get lots of usage out of their smartphones, including via voice assistants. This may reduce their inclination to add other devices to their personal inventory.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Now That They’re Really Adults
  3. The Smartphone Loyalists
  4. Using Social Media to, You Know, Socialize
  1. Using Digital Video and (Still) TV
  2. Millennials as Digital (and Nondigital) Shoppers
  3. Key Takeaways
  4. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Julien Boudet
McKinsey & Company
Partner, Marketing and Sales Practice
Interviewed January 17, 2019
Jon Giegengack
Hub Entertainment Research
Founder and Principal
Interviewed January 15, 2019
Dallas Lawrence
Chief Communications and Brand Officer
Interviewed January 15, 2019
Shanti Maung
Director, Research and Strategy
Interviewed January 14, 2019
Joline McGoldrick
Senior Vice President, Data and Insights
Interviewed January 17, 2019
Michelle Skupin
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications
Interviewed January 16, 2019
Craig Wigginton
Vice Chairman and Technology, Media and Telecom Leader
Interviewed January 18, 2019
Paul Zaffaroni
Roth Capital Partners
Head of Consumer Investment Banking
Interviewed January 18, 2019

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Mark Dolliver


Lucy Koch
Junior Analyst
Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Jennifer Pearson
VP, Research
Monica Peart
Senior Director, Forecasting
Shelleen Shum
Director, Forecasting

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