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July 05, 2016
Engaging Millennial Consumers: Welcome to the Screen Age
By: Ewan Mackay

Smart devices and the digital services they support are now central to our lives. Whether we are watching films, managing our fitness regimes, booking doctors’ appointments, or even just catching up with friends, there is a good chance we are doing so over a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch or other digital screen. You are most likely reading this blog on one.

With many clients in the retail industry who understand that mobile adoption alone is not enough to meet the needs of millennials consumers and ensure continued business growth, Accenture has identified five mega-trends. These trends are distilled and analysed from Accenture's 2016 Digital Consumer Survey to help companies disrupt the status quo and connect with customers like never before.

The Screen Age

We are living in the ‘Screen Age’. All around us millennials are hunched over their smart devices, connecting to more things than ever and consuming more digital services. This is the ‘screenager’ a new and digitally mature consumer.

In this three-part blog series, I am going to take a deeper look at the implications of the Screen Age and what this means for businesses looking to attract and retain millennials. In the first blog, I want to address the sheer scale of the Screen Age.

The rise of smart devices

Anyone can see just how quickly digital devices have made their way into our lives. A rather unscientific (but very telling) gauge is to compare the London Underground of ten years ago with that of today. If you were to board a tube a decade ago you would perhaps see a few mobile phones in use, but the majority of passengers would have their heads buried in newspapers and books. Today the situation is reversed. Not only do smartphones and tablets now outnumber books and papers but the variety of the devices has increased too.

The fast pace at which mobile adoption has occurred, leading to what we now call the Screen Age, is caused by a Multiplier Effect that lies at the heart of our relationship with these devices. This shift to mobile has important consequences for businesses.

The Multiplier Effect

Today, 80 percent of millennials own a smartphone—a 26% increase on 2012—and 40% own a tablet and smartphone as well as a desktop device. The ways in which screenagers are using their devices is also increasing. So while 87% of smartphone owners use mobile apps for communication services, 50% are already using or planning to use mobile payment services, and 46% take eLearning or online training courses via digital devices.

This Multiplier Effect (More Consumers x More Devices x More Experiences) is continuous, and holds the promise of great rewards for businesses able to deliver products and services centred on these smart devices. That is why mobile trends and the Screen Age is so important to businesses: in no time at all a vast market and service ecosystem has sprung out of nowhere to offer companies new revenue streams, business models and new ways of engaging with their millennial customers.

In the next blogs in this series I will focus on what these new types of services look like and how businesses must meet the challenge of rising consumer expectations. As we shall see, there are significant profits to be made, but only by companies that truly understand the digital world and the new breed of digitally-savvy customer that lie at its heart. To help us understand this, we will hear first-hand from a screenager in the last blog in the series.

Discover how your organisation disrupt the status quo and connect with customers like never before.

Find out more about the growing expectations and multiplied experiences of the screenager by watching this film.

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