Thriving businesses know and understand their target audience – and they also know the best way to reach them.
Each demographic group responds differently to marketing and communication strategies. If your business targets millennials, there's one channel above all others that they'll respond to – SMS.
Millennials prefer texting! Find out why in this article – and see plenty of interesting statistics in our infographic. But first, let's get to know this demographic...
Typical traits of millennials
Millennials (also called Gen Y) are a cohort of people born between 1981 and 1996. They make up the largest proportion of the world's population and precede Generation Z, the newest generation. In developed nations, millennials are generally well educated and tech-savvy, having been the first generation to grow up during the age of the internet.
Because of their familiarity with the internet and social media, millennials are socially conscious and connected to what's happening in the world. They're a diverse, inclusive, curious, motivated and open-minded bunch.
Millennials will switch brands on a whim if they're unhappy with a product or service. 90% say brand authenticity is important to them and tend to tune out intrusive advertising.
This generation was the first to own a mobile phone. Millennials can quickly get to grips with digital technologies, using various devices and apps at work and home.
You'll not often see a millennial without their phone! Most millennials daily rely on them for all sorts of activities – managing contacts, browsing social media, checking finances, online streaming, appointments, and of course, communicating.
General smartphone usage and 'millennials texting' statistics
Here are some interesting facts and figures to give you a deeper insight into how millennials embrace mobile phone technology, particularly texting.
Millennials are heavy users of digital technology – 94.4% of U.S. millennials will have smartphones this year.
74% of millennials rank text messages as their 'most used' communication method in their personal life.
Some older millennials text differently from younger millennials, preferring to form sentences with proper English and punctuation rather than emojis.
Millennials have coined themselves a nickname – Generation Mute – as they'd rather message, text and snap than speak on the phone.
75% of millennials avoid phone calls because they're time-consuming – and 81% get apprehension anxiety if they have to make a call.
Two-thirds of millennials favour text messaging for quick questions or confirmations, including two-factor authentication (2FA).
Millennials spend around 48 minutes per day texting.
73% of millennial smartphone users are interested in interacting with brands' loyalty programs via their mobile devices
More than 25% of millennials use their mobile as their main source for content – a much higher percentage than Gen Xers (17%) and Baby Boomers (7%).
In a study by Openmarket, 75% of millennials said they'd prefer a text-only phone rather than a voice-only phone.
Why millennials love text messaging
The same Openmarket research suggested the millennial generation prefers text messaging over other communication channels because it's more personal, less invasive and makes them feel valued by brands.
In this separate interview piece, texting is favoured by introverted personalities. One millennial describes how she uses texting as a 'buffer' while speaking to someone because she's not very chatty, doesn't like small talk, and takes time to open up to people.
Another claims text messaging is non-confrontational and less mentally draining than talking. And someone else says they prefer to text their partner rather than call them – reserving phone calls only for something important.
There's less pressure with texting. Millennials can read and respond to messages on their own schedule, and they can take time to think about what they want to say rather than being put on the spot during a phone call. Texts are convenient, simple and quick!
Benefits of reaching millennials via text messages
Aside from the fact that most millennials prefer to communicate via text, SMS offers several other advantages compared to other channels. Text messaging is:
Fast and direct – it's virtually instant messaging, making it ideal for time-sensitive communications like text reminders, delivery notifications, flash sales, and back-in-stock alerts.
Impactful – texts have an extraordinary open rate of 98%. That's higher than direct mail (up to 90%) and much higher than email, which offers an overall average open rate of 16.97%. Phone calls simply aren’t effective with this demographic – as mentioned earlier, many millennials tend to avoid them full stop.
Quick to set up – there's very little prep involved in creating a text message campaign. No major design elements or printing timelines to worry about. So you can act quickly and communicate business news or product offers as soon as they're formed.
Cost-effective – you'll only pay for the text messages you send. And costs can be as low as 0.016 € per message, depending on the destination country. (Check pricing here.) Since nearly all texts are opened, SMS offers excellent value for money.
- Simple – while millennials also appreciate other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger, SMS is familiar and already installed on every cell phone. There's no need for recipients to download a separate app.
Reach millennials on their own territory
Millennials aren't shy about using technology – most of this generation owns a smartphone and uses it for daily activities. So it makes sense to send your message directly into their hands through SMS.
Text messaging is a convenient, cost-effective and fast way to reach millennials. This demographic prefers text messaging over phone calls, especially for quick communications. And although SMS is direct, as long as you get your message content and frequency right, it's not intrusive. Focus on creating authentic, valuable content, and you won't go far wrong.