Millennials Have Little Brand Loyalty When It Comes to Apps, but Are Consuming Huge Amounts of Content

They use smartphones for 78 billion minutes every week

Millennials have a plethora of apps at their disposal, and they take advantage of all the options. Getty Images
Headshot of Sami Main

Millennials have a seemingly endless array of apps to choose from, and they don’t appear to be loyal to any of one of them.

According to a new study from Nielsen about millennials and their use of digital music and communication, they are less likely to stay loyal to a specific media the way other generations are. Despite this, millennials are consuming an enormous amount of content every week.

Of people aged 18-34 and 35-49 especially, devices are being used during all waking hours of the day. Many people even keep their smartphones close by and turned on while asleep.

In the first quarter of 2017, millennials aged 18-34 used their smartphone to access both apps and the web for 78 billion minutes in the average week; that’s about 1,062 minutes per millennial. For people aged 35-49, 73 billion minutes were spent using a smartphone in an average week.

About 70 percent of millennials report using two or more apps for messaging services alone. Only 42 percent of consumers aged 35 and up use two or more messaging apps. Millennials are also 8 percent more likely to use group messaging apps.

This Nielsen report also looked at digital audio consumption between the generations. It concluded that the rise of digital consumption is not reducing traditional radio tune-in. Broadcast radio had 72 million listeners aged 18-34 in 2016; currently, Nielsen measures a weekly reach of broadcast radio to be 93 percent of millennials.

The report also doubles down on how engagement is just as important to measure as reach. Millennials are spending almost the same amount of time listening to traditional radio as they were a year ago, about 10 hours and 14 minutes each week.

Additionally, on-demand streaming saw an increase last year. Total audio streams saw an increase by 76.4 percent with most of that coming from millennials. About 60 percent of them say they use two or more apps to stream music. Consumers 35 and older are more likely to remain loyal to a single app or streaming service than millennials.

Podcasts, Nielsen noted, are an opportunity for marketers to engage with millennials. Around 37 percent of millennials reported listening to podcasts at least once each week and 13 percent said they listen every day.

Overall, the report shows that millennials have a strong connection with media in general and have a high desire to consume a variety of quality content rather than limiting themselves to one medium or service.

Millennials aren’t particularly loyal to just one digital music or communication app; this doesn’t mean they’re consuming less content, though. Instead of opting for one over the other, millennials are choosing to use many digital services at once. New options don’t have to cannibalize previous ones.


@samimain sami.main@adweek.com Sami Main is social editor for Adweek, where she posts Adweek content onto social platforms and looks for creative ways to communicate what's new.