Go mobile or go home.

IMG_7578 By 2020 almost fifty percent of the workforce will be Millennials. To reach this new crop of money-spenders, brands will need to better understand their audience.

First, let’s define this group of individuals. Born between 1980 and 2000, this group has been the first generation to truly live in a digital world. From a young age, they were exposed to digital gadgets, wireless devices and the world wide web.

As a proud member of this generation, born in 1989 (thank you), let me give you a few examples. In 1996, my family took our first roach trip together. I was seven and we were heading to Disney World. This was before we had a home computer and before cell phones were mainstream.

Between Charlotte, NC and Orlando, FL and for all 524 miles of the drive, my father had to read printed maps for directions. Printed maps! Along with the car’s registration, the glove compartment held a map for North Carolina, South Carolina and the Southeast. Cue, the smartphone revolution.

I haven’t looked at a printed map since 2007 and have since relied on digital maps. This past April, the world celebrated 40 years of cell phones. Read on for a first-person, Millennial perspective of smartphone adoption.

Let’s rewind to 2004, when the Motorola razor hit the market and it was the coolest thing in school. Fast forward two years, my best friend Julia was scrolling on the touchscreen of the first-generation iPhone in our high school psychology class. Smartphones, at this time, only represented about “6% of the U.S. mobile-phone sales by volume” (approximately 715,000). Don’t forget about Blackberries, which were common amongst business professionals and high schoolers alike. BBM was the new AIM.

You could say I was a late iPhone-adopter as I did not replace my blackberry until 2011, following the blackberry outage across North America. Smartphone adoption has yet to slow.

In the next 4 years, it’s been predicted that over “6 billion mobile devices will be in use and over two thirds will be smartphones.” Today, more than “90% of Millennials own a mobile phone and more than half own a smartphone.”

By 2020, roughly 88 million people will represent the Millennial population.We are the first technologically savvy group to join the workforce, gaining more buying power in the marketplace and, thus, in need of attention.

What does this mean to companies and marketing? Go mobile, or go home. How millennial are you?

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