Study reveals strong emotional connection to phones between Millennials and Gen Z

Published: Mar. 3, 2019 at 8:47 PM CST
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According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey of Millennials and Gen Z consumers, kids are younger than ever when they receive their first phone. However, once people have a phone, they are waiting longer to upgrade, more willing to use them anytime and anywhere and think phones are nearly as precious as their wallets.

"When looking at the data, especially among younger generations, we're noticing differences emerging in the way people relate to their device," said Mike Adams, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Nebraska and Iowa. "People form a strong emotional connection with their phone and are using it differently than in the past, with a majority of people reporting that they feel anxious or naked without it."

Here are some of the data points from the survey conducted.

Parents are providing children with phones at a younger age:

Gen Z (18-22) received their first phone at 14 years old compared to 15 years old for Younger Millennials (23-29) and 18 years old for Older Millennials (30-38). And for 57 percent of Gen Z respondents, their first phone was a smartphone compared to 37 percent for Younger Millennials and 22 percent for Older Millennials.

People are waiting to upgrade their device:

41 percent of respondents say they hold on to their phone for as long as possible. The top reasons to get a new device are broken phones (54 percent) and a new version being released (44 percent).

Many are worried about leaving or losing their device:

88 percent of respondents would be somewhat or very concerned if they lost their phone, almost as high as if they lost their wallet (90 percent), keys (89 percent) or credit cards (89 percent).

People are less likely to worry about phone etiquette:

Nearly 1 out of 10 people think that there are no places or situations where cellphone use is unacceptable. There are 36 percent of people who feel it is OK to use their phone in a place of worship, and 89 percent think it's appropriate to use in the bathroom.

People are using their phone more for internet and social media browsing than for calls or messages:

67 percent of respondents spend less than an hour a day making calls on their device, while 73 percent spend more than an hour a day browsing the internet.