Written by Powa on .



We keep hearing statistics that the vast majority of smartphone users do not buy with their mobile.

Take this article from Business News Daily, for instance:

About half of those surveyed in the U.S. have researched products on their mobile phones… Overall, less than 10 percent make purchases via mobile devices on a weekly basis.

So who is this “10%” – and can how can a merchant interact with them?

Well, we already knew that the majority of them are under 45 years old, and that they belonged to middle class families (who were the first to buy smartphones or phablets).

But a Nielsen report tells us more about the profile of mobile shoppers in the US. Over the last two years, we’ve seen two new trends:

  • men catching up with women (it is 50/50 now)
  • households with lower incomes (under $50k/year) form the most dynamic revenue group.

If we look at the UK market – arguably one of the most advanced in the world – we find the same patterns. According to Comscore, the majority of UK mobile shoppers are between 25 and 44 years old. Men buy more than women. 72% of shoppers make less than £45k per year.

It is not a surprise that most of mobile shoppers are “millennials”, i.e., men and women born between 1980 and 1995. Most of them are digital natives, having grown up with computers, the Internet and now smartphones. They represent up to 40% of the workforce in many western countries, so they have some money to spend.

So as a retailer or brand owner, how do you appeal to and engage with millennials? These four tactics have proven to be effective:

1)      Keep it concise

Though millennials are not a monolithic generation (early and later millennials are referred to as “the flip phone group” and “the smartphone group” respectively), one key unifying factor is their short attention spans. Now that multitasking is the norm, there is little room left in their memories. Tweets are 140 characters long. SnapChats last a few seconds.

So quality content delivered in a straightforward, compact manner is recommended.

2)      Partner with key influencers

One efficient tactic is hiring “social media celebrities*” with large followings on Twitter/YouTube/ Facebook to help convey the message. The best celebs are the ones who will help with the lower-income millennials, as these are the fastest growing group of mobile shoppers.

*I will not comment on the balance of risks and rewards associated with celebrity endorsement – just ask Justin Beiber’s or Tiger Wood’ sponsors.

3)      Be smart with social

Millennials are sensitive to peer recommendations and reviews; the success of sites such as Glassdoor and Trip Advisor depends upon this. This means that social networks are essential to build a credible network of peers who will “like” your product or app. Short video testimonials (Vine-style) will work well too.

And if you are marketing an app, reviews on the App Store and Play Store are also very important.

4)      View millennials as design partners

Millennials are naturally flocking to the next big thing, contributing to build the dominant companies of tomorrow, leading to the ballistic successes of Uber, Airbnb, Line and WeChat – but they do not want only to follow.

They also want to be recognized as opinion leaders and pioneers. A great strategy already being used by large TV broadcasting companies is the creation of user groups though “innovation contests” to assist in the building of a future product, service or offer. Rewards are typically offered for participation.


So we know that millennials have made up the first generation of mobile shoppers.

Engaging with them will entail working with people they can relate to (whether they’re famous or just like them), treating them not just as customers but as growth partners, and communicating in their style and via the channels that they’ve driven to success.

For the first time in history, the younger generation is establishing new communities for all other age groups in our society to follow.

It’s up to us to get involved.



Georges has been with Powa since 2013, and headed up teams in France and the US before stepping into the role of Chief Revenue Officer Global Accounts towards the end of last year. He’s also an active writer, and publishes frequently in the fields of m-commerce and mobile payments.