Much has been written about millennials, often focusing on their familiarity with tech. Because they were the first generation to be brought up with tech omnipresent in their day-to-day activities, it influences almost every part of their lives, including how they work, travel, eat and socialise, among other things. Here are five apps in particular that have been, and will continue to be, instrumental to their lives:
Millennials are not big fans of phone calls – gone are the days of voice messages. But with the advent of WhatsApp Messenger, who needs phone calls anyway? Kelly Norwood-Young says that WhatsApp has enabled her to become a better communicator. “I find it easier to stay in touch with people and love the voice note feature,” she says. WhatsApp groups ensure that you can have quick and easy group discussions, plus the broadcast feature lets you communicate a single message to large numbers of contacts.
“With Uber, I feel so much safer when going out than driving on my own at night,” says millennial Michelle Reitsma. As well as the personal safety aspect, Uber has also ensured that fewer people are driving under the influence of alcohol, generally improving the safety on our roads. Before Uber arrived, taking a taxi in South Africa meant you needed to have the cash on hand to pay for your trip, and the lack of regulation often made it unsafe. Harnessing the power of GPS, Uber has not only made travel for all age groups easier and more convenient, but it’s generated employment for drivers and vehicle owners as well.
One of the main priorities of millennials is having flexibility. This, combined with the fact that property prices have increased dramatically in recent years, means millennials are renting more than any other generation before them. So, with their tech-filled lives, surely there should be an app that helps them manage their rental arrangement as well? Flow is something that does just this. With Flow, tenants get rewarded for registering, adding their property details, paying their rent on time, looking after their homes, and much more. Getting rewards for something you’re already having to do? Winning! Great tenants can earn thousands of points every month, increasing their Flow score and accessing incredible rewards. For these rewards, Flow has struck partnerships with a number of leading brands in the lifestyle, entertainment, homeware, fashion and travel space that are valuable to millennials. Tenants can then spend these rewards to enrich their lives, and landlords can benefit from renters taking better care of their properties in general.
Tenants that are fully in Flow can get up to 20% of their rent back in rewards every month. That means thousands of rands in value, as well as a more seamless and connected rental experience.
Remember when we used to eat our food without photographing it first? When we used to go on holiday to Greece and invite our friends round for dinner two weeks later, to show them all our pictures? Nope, us neither! Instagram has revolutionised the way we document our lives, and how we connect with each other – and this is especially true for millennials.
It has also significantly changed the way we travel, eat out, socialise and engage with brands and organisations (and it has certainly changed the way we are marketed to, as well). While there are downsides to the way Instagram allows us to filter our lives to appear more desirable, there is much good that has emerged from this app as well. And with now over 1 billion users worldwide, it shows no signs of going anywhere, either.
No cash? No credit card? No problem! With the advent of mobile payment solutions such as Zapper, the world of retail has completely changed. Even back in the times when we were bartering with livestock and metal coins, humans have always been looking for ways to pay for things that were quick and convenient. And what could be quicker than holding your phone up to a QR code that then facilitates a payment to the merchant in question? So now, even if you’ve left your phone at home, you can pick up that new scarf at the flea market, or buy a cup of hot coffee and a fresh croissant.
With technology transforming their finances, social lives, transport and communication, it’s easy to see how millennials may wonder how people ran their lives before mobile apps were invented. Given that just 20 years ago the concept of a smartphone wasn’t even in existence, it’s hard to imagine what the app landscape will look like two decades from now, and what part of our lives these apps will have transformed even further. Watch this space.