Finns aged 18–25 lead the world when it comes to mobile data consumption, according to Telia Finland, the country’s largest mobile operator. This demographic uses about 30 GB of data per month, approximately three times what the average Finn uses per month. Their number of calls and text messages does not differ significantly from the rest of the population, it said.
Young people in Finland speak for an average of 180 minutes per month, only 10 minutes less than the rest of the population, according to Telia business manager Petri Lindqvist. They send about 18 SMS, compared with about 35 SMS per month for the average Finn.
In December 2017, the most popular phone among Telia subscribers aged 18–25 was the Apple iPhone X, followed by the Huawei Honor 9, the Samsung Galaxy S8, with the iPhone 8 taking fourth place and the iPhone 8 Plus taking fifth.
We have written frequently about the distinctive mobile usage habits of the youth demographic in many markets, and the value of this slice of the population to mobile operators. Now this result from Finland, one of the most highly developed mobile markets in the world, assigns a dramatic number to the question: Young adults use three times as much data as the rest of the population.
While this statistic is an outlier, given that Finnish youth are literally number one in the entire world, it is still very indicative of the stark disparity between the youth market and everyone else. It contains a clear directive to operators to continue to cultivate this group of users and cater to their needs, not only for present revenue but to build something for the future. Because it is virtually certain that these customers will not suddenly reduce their data consumption as soon as they turn 26. The usage habits of the youth demographic are a forecast of the usage habits of the whole population in the years to come.
In Finland, an affluent society that is particularly addicted to mobile technology (the home of Nokia is, after all, one of the places that made the mobile world we now all live in), youth may not have to be heavily incentivized to consume a lot of data. The preference of youth there for expensive high-end phones such as the iPhone X indicates that they have plenty of disposable cash. In other markets, however, getting the most out of youth customers may require discounting data and devices in the hope of cultivating habits that will persist once their income levels go up.
Finally, one interesting takeaway from this report is that while the voice and SMS usage patterns of Finnish youth are not distinctive in the way that their data usage is, at least where voice is concerned, they have not abandoned traditional services. (The lower quantity of SMS among youth is likely due to their greater use of OTT messaging services.) Operators in developed markets will probably be able to count on continued support for voice even from those who are on the cutting edge of exploiting everything that high-speed data can do.