A Look Back at 2015: Millennials Will Drive the Evolution of Networks

Elise-Vadnais--thumb Elise Vadnais January 1, 2016

MillenialsEditor’s Note: As we say good-bye to 2015, we look back at some of our most shared blogs of the year. We covered a wide range of network infrastructure topics and we hope you enjoy revisiting some of these popular posts. This blog first appeared on October 12, 2015.

I am a “millennial.” I am part of the cohort of persons born between 1980 and 2000, and I also happen to work as a researcher for CommScope. When I began looking into the research available on millennials and thought about the unique lifestyles and spending trends of my generation—our reliance on technology and prioritization of mobility and experience, among others—I came to a new prediction: my industry is in for a BIG change.

Presently one-third of the global population—having outnumbered the Baby Boomer generation already in the US—the Millennial generation is slated to make up 75 percent of the workforce in the United States alone by 2025. We are a significant cohort (not only in sheer number but also in consumer spend), which begs not to be ignored or even misunderstood. We have preferences and spending habits that directly impact network service providers and content providers.

This year alone, millennials living in the US and Canada are expected to spend over $62 billion on media content, all being delivered over a combination of fixed and wireless networks. Eighty-five percent (85%) of millennials have smartphones, andthey prize connectivity above nearly every other aspect of their lives. Sixty-six percent (66%) of us millennials believe everything will be mobile in five years—banking, grocery shopping, parking our cars, domestic tasks, you name it. Additionally, there is an evident shift from previous generations, who had strong brand loyalty. Instead, millennials opt for the best combination of services at the lowest price. These are some pretty powerful statistics, especially when you take into consideration:

  • By 2017, millennials will have more spending power than any other group, accounting for some $200 billion annually in the United States alone
  • 95% of millennials have Internet connections
  • 62% of millennials prefer living in urban areas
  • High speed Internet access ranked third on a list of priorities for millennials who are evaluating a metro to live in, behind safe streets and affordable housing
  • Of the top ten brands cited by millennials, five are online content services and three are device manufactures

These findings, from sources such as Deloitte, Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Telefonica and others, illuminate several key realitiesin the millennial mindset, which directly impact communications service providers and content providers. Sifting through the list, I have identified four as being most significant.


Network operators are positioning to service this generation as we’ll soon represent the greatest spending power and influence on services in the near future. I predict network operators will focus on expanding and increasing the capacity of fiber optic broadband and wireless infrastructure with an eye for reducing costs and passing the savings on to customers. The networks must be agile and scale quickly to meet the rising millennial-customer demands for connectivity as we millennials are keen on having the latest and greatest devices and are always up on the latest social media or content trends.

How else do you think the millennials will affect communications networks?

About the Author


Elise Vadnais

Passionately engaged in global trends but having spent her whole life in the US, Ms. Vadnais purposed herself to even better understand the dynamics of the global broadband industry, and so one year ago relocated to Brussels, Belgium.  From the office there, she focuses on supporting the company’s business in Sub-Saharan Africa from a regional product management perspective, along with staying on top of regulatory trends across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. From tracking generational trends in broadband consumption, to regional trends in technology and networks, Ms. Vadnais is always seeking to understand the current and future demands on networks and anticipate the needs of network operators.  Ms. Vadnais has over 5 years of experience in the industry and in strategy and product management, researching broadband network infrastructures across the the world.  She has extensively studied and analyzed consumer, market and industry trends, observing them through industry engagement and life as a connected millennial.