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Why Some Millennials Are Breaking Away from Smartphones

Posted on | August 23, 2016 | No Comments

retro Flip Phone

Digital fatigue continues its slow creep amongst the smartphone population and now has reached the Millenials. A recent article from CBS New York reports that’s some Millennials are ditching smartphones and starting to break retro towards flip phones.  One has to wonder if this is some new trendy retro movement among hipsters, kind of like sporting neon clothing of the 80’s or rebooting a Star Wars genre. Although neon Wham t-shirts are nostalgic and we all certainly miss Han Solo – but this time the answer is no, it’s not a cool hipster move,  it’s just because Millenials need a break from the smartphone chaos.

CBS New York interviewed 16-year-old Janie Litvin on the idea of digital fatigue and why she is going retro.  Here are some interesting quotes from the article:

“If you’re a teenage girl, having an iPhone can be very stressful. You’ll turn away from your phone and you’ll come back five minutes later and you’ll have 200 messages and 10 Snapchats, and like 15 notifications on Facebook. And just– it’s a lot. I just thought it was too much.”

“You’ll be in a room and people will be Snapchatting each other, they’ll be texting each other– from within the room.”

“It’s great not to have to respond to everything immediately, and to not have to be constantly present with your phone worrying that you’re going to miss something.”

Earlier this year Ennect Do-it-yourself Marketing Software published a blog titled Smartphone Users Tired of the Digital Tether Are Trending Retro and here are the reasons smartphone dropouts cited for their actions:

  • Expensive smartphones are easily broken
  • Constant recharging is tedious
  • A new, better version always follows a recent purchases
  • An abundance of stress of being part of the wired world

In 2015, 44 million basic dumb phones were sold. Growing alternatives to the current smartphone market are sprouting up just like flower bulbs in springtime and one of these is The Light Phone. The Light Phone’s message sums up this retro movement perfectly – “It’s not anti-technology, it’s just human.”

It will be interesting to see what actions digital and mobile marketers take to adapt to the weariness of the constant “ding” of notifications in the backdrop of life.

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