Back to news home Back arrow

​Not Without My Smartphone - Are boomers the millennials of corporate travel?

July 19, 2018


By Julian Walker
Head of External Market Communications and PR, CWT

Whether we travel for business, leisure, or even bleisure, the days of setting off on a journey without our mobile devices, and especially our smartphones, are a thing of the past.

I recently read a study which found that global smartphone dependence continues to grow, with a quarter of millennials looking at their phone more than 100 times a day. That’s once every ten minutes during a 16-hour waking cycle.

It would seem that millennials are far more dependent on their phones than older generations (boomers check their phones about a tenth of that time).

Our own research backs this up. 84% of travelers surveyed in Asia Pacific and The Americas, and 83% of Europeans, always bring a cell phone with them while traveling. So to be expected. 

However, the unexpected findings came when we looked at the age split. The percentages rose to 90% in Asia Pacific and America, and 95% in Europe for boomers; compared to 85% in Asia Pacific, 86% in the Americas, or 82% in Europe for gen X travelers. Millennials scored the lowest rates with 77% in Asia Pacific, 76% in Americas and 75% in Europe.

Surprisingly, when it comes to traveling, it seems the older you are, the more dependent on your phone you become. Indeed, across regions and ages, we found that business travelers viewed their cell phone as the most important device to bring along. Again, boomers were the most attached to their phones, with 90% in Asia Pacific, 91% in the Americas, and 94% in Europe never wanting to be apart from their device. For gen X travelers, the results were 84% in Asia Pacific, 85% in the Americas, and 82% in Europe. Millennials scored just 75% in Asia Pacific and 74% in the Americas and Europe.

After examining these findings, one cannot but wonder, are European boomers the real millennials of corporate travel? 

But it gets even more bizarre in the first study I mentioned. According to the findings, “global smartphone users won’t give up their device for one month, even if they were offered a day with their favorite celebrity (74%), a 10% salary increase (56%), an extra week of vacation (50%), $1,000 dollars (41%) or a holiday at their dream destination. They would also give up family, friends or sex for a week before their smartphone. 4% would even go to prison for a month to not lose their smartphone for a year.”

I am not sure that anyone should love a piece of technology that much.