Gen Z and Millennials now more likely to communicate with each other digitally than in person

LivePerson, the leading provider of cloud mobile and online business messaging solutions, has released the first of a two-part research report assessing digital habits and preferences among Gen Z and Millennials across the globe.

Some of the key findings:

  • The phone is the new wallet: 61.8% of global consumers ages 18–34 would choose to leave their wallet at home instead of their phone.
  • Digital is the new IRL (“in real life”): Globally, a majority of Gen Z and Millennials (65%) communicate with each other more often digitally than in person.
  • The phone is now truly an extension of the self: 70.1% of Gen Z and Millennials across the globe sleep with their phone within arm’s reach. And 65.5% bring their phone into the bathroom with them.
  • The future is 100% digital: A majority of Gen Z and Millennials around the world (69.5%) can imagine a future where 100% of purchases are done digitally/online.

LivePerson commissioned the survey of more than 4,000 18–34-year-olds across the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, and France, plus an additional 1,016 adults 35 years old or older in the US as a benchmark. The goal was to better understand the digital habits and preferences of younger consumers around the world. The full report is available at

According to the research, Gen Z and Millennials communicate with others more digitally than in person (65%). This percentage is even higher in English-speaking countries, with the US (73.7%) and UK (74.4%) relying more heavily on digital channels for communication. Digging deeper, this preference for digital communications is specifically targeted at messaging. When asked if they could only keep either the phone app or messaging/SMS app on their smartphone, a majority of respondents (69.4%) would choose the messaging app. This percentage is also higher for those in the US (73.4%) and UK (73%).

For these two generations, the smartphone has truly become an extension of their hands. According to the survey, 70.1% of respondents sleep with their phone within arm’s reach, 64.5% bring their phone into the bathroom, and 52.2% check their phone if they wake up briefly in the middle of the night. With these younger consumers being attached to their phones, it isn’t surprising that many of them place less importance on traditional social norms than older generations — 41.6% consider it acceptable to text at a family dinner, and 27.7% think it’s acceptable to text in the middle of an in-person conversation.

With a constant digital connection at their fingertips, younger consumers expect a high threshold of digital convenience when seeking help from a brand. When asked to rank how they typically try to get a question answered from a brand, going to the app or website was the #1 choice, on average, across the globe.

“We wanted to look more closely at the younger consumer audience, across different countries, and in more depth than the well-known trope that young people love their smartphones,” said Rurik Bradbury, global head of communications and research at LivePerson. “What we see in the research data is the phone truly becoming an extension of the self, and the platforms and apps within it — digital life — occupying more than their offline interactions.”

This survey was commissioned by LivePerson and conducted online by independent research firm Survata, which interviewed 4,013 global consumers ages 18–34 across six countries (US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, and Japan) between September 1, 2017, and September 11, 2017. Respondents received no cash compensation for their participation. More information on methodology can be found at