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Millennial consumers, mobile use and insurance sales

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You’ve seen them on their smartphones at the dinner table, during work, at parties, even in the movie theaters while “watching” a movie. Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 2000, have not only taken over the workplace. They are now your biggest market and opportunity.

A recent survey commissioned by AXA Lab, the digital arm of the multinational insurer, and produced by Alpha UX, a company that specializes in getting to know your target market, set out to discover how millennials view insurance. The survey found that most young adults don’t find life insurance “necessary,” with only 16 percent of this U.S. demographic seeing a need for it.

Even so, advisors and insurers can’t ignore the 83.5 million millennials living and working in the U.S. as a market segment.

The report’s findings also provide an insight into Gen Y’s consumer profile:

    • 80 percent sleep with or next to their cellphones

    • 59 percent use mobile to compare prices while shopping in a traditional store

    • 81 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 have smartphones

    • 10 percent of millennials are either mostly offline (8 percent) or almost always offline (2 percent); this means that 90 percent are almost always online and connected (23 percent), mostly online and connected (28 percent), or a mix of both (39 percent)

When AXA Lab and Alpha UX asked millennials to write three adjectives that describe insurance today, their findings shed light on their perception of the industry:

    • 23 percent said “expensive”

    • 16 percent said “necessary”

    • 14 percent said “safe”

    • 13 percent said “helpful”

    • 11 percent said “important”

The survey was conducted online between February 17-24, 2016 and included responses from 1,175 U.S.-based millennials ages 18 to 35.

Read on to see detailed slides from the AXA Lab/Alpha UX survey. (You can click on the images to enlarge.)

Other characteristics of this generation’s consumer profile include:

    • 75 percent would prefer financial services from companies such as Google, Amazon or PayPal.

    • In the U.S. alone, millennial consumers will spend $200 billion annually by next year (2017), and $10 trillion over their lifetimes.

When asked, “What is the most important aspect of an insurance proposition for you?” 41 percent said “reliability of coverage,” and 30 percent said “price.”

Millennials seem to recognize the importance of health insurance, but not the importance of life insurance, according to the survey.

Gen Y also recognizes car insurance as the second most important type of insurance to have, and renters or homeowner as third. Life insurance came in fourth place.

While much has been said about how robo-advisors or technology will substitute insurance agents, it seems that most millennials prefer interacting with a real-life person. Only 8 percent said they don’t want to interact with insurers.

And here’s the kicker: Millennials are digital natives. So it follows that they would prefer to buy insurance on their mobile devices, right? Not necessarily. This survey found that 56 percent wouldn’t buy insurance on their smartphone because “a computer can freeze” or the computer “can’t really understand what their needs are.”

Key takeaways:

Agents, carriers and the industry as a whole need to continue raising awareness and educating millennials about:

  • How life insurance is affordable and not expensive (depending on the product).

  • Why life insurance is necessary (maybe once millennials have a family, this will be better understood).

  • How life insurance can be engaging.

  • Explain the product and the process in an easy way that millennials can relate to it and understand it.

  • Make the option of buying life insurance on a smartphone easier and readily available.

If you want to read more about this survey, go to this post on Pulse on LinkedIn.

See also:

Confessions of a millennial advisor: How to become an advisor to Gen Y

What millennials want from insurance agents

17 ways to better market to millennials


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