Generation Y Prefers Mobile Internet

by Jennifer Null from Vergent

Generation Y, defined as the generation of people who are currently aged 18-27, are addicted to surfing the internet via their mobile phones. According to a survey by Opera, most Gen Y users received their first phone between the ages of 18-20 and grew up using it. “We have often said that the next generation will grow up knowing the Web mostly through their mobile phones,” said Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner. He said the mobile Web “will bring about a profound change in how we connect with one another.”

Almost 90% of users in this age range use their mobile phones to share pictures or make blog posts. Additionally, 90% of users worldwide report that they use their mobile phones as their primary access to the internet. (In the United States, this number is lower, but still a majority—about 51%).

Opera says their data presents a challenge to the long-standing belief that smart phone uptake will be the major driver of mobile web usage globally, particularly since the majority of mobile phone owners across the globe cannot afford smart phones.

So what does this mean for your business’s internet presence? It means that if your business targets this age range and its internet presence is not optimized to display properly in mobile browsers, you’re losing significant market share. If you don’t have a marketing plan in place that can effectively get your message across via mobile internet access, it might be time to start thinking about ways to get one in place.

According to a report by USA Today, Gen Y will wait a maximum of three seconds for a web page to load before clicking away, regardless of whether they are on their phone or on a computer. This highlights the importance of designing fast, mobile-accessible web pages that can be served quickly over wireless networks.

How to Market to Generation Y in a Mobile Internet Age

Businesses should also understand that marketing to Generation Y presents a unique set of challenges, since Gen Y interacts differently with the world than previous generations. While Gen Xers are the kings and queens of email, Gen Y thinks email is just as outdated as pen and paper. Savvy businesses who want to reach Gen Y will implement some type of creative mobile marketing outreach.

Restaurants or bars can boost sales and generate customer loyalty, for example, by creating advertising campaigns that say “Text [insert number] and get a coupon for a free cocktail.” In this way, the company not only draws new customers but also easily builds an opt-in marketing list.

If you’re still running newspaper ads and your demographic is young, you’re wasting your time. Opera’s survey also reveals that Generation Y has a strong aversion to newspapers. And, with the advent of DVRs, precious few Generation Yers still watch television commercials. Meanwhile, text message marketing has a 99% message delivery rate, a 95% read rate, and a 20%-50% respond rate–one of the highest conversion rates for any type of media. On top of that, it only costs pennies to send a text, whereas newspaper and television advertising can run into the tens of thousands.

Generation Y weighs in at 82 million consumers, and carries even more purchasing power than the Baby Boomer generation because it is larger. Is your business ready for them?

Jennifer Null is the marketing director for Vergent Communications, a provider of T1 Service, VoIP, MPLS VPN, and IP PBX Phone Systems. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality business internet service to businesses across the nation, with T1 service starting from only $249 a month.