No cash. No talking. What goes next? Welcome to your ‘app-tive’ digital life

Are your digital activities more efficient and fulfilling than your tech-free life? According to Bank of America’s 2018 Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, digital technology is changing our behavior at an increasing pace.

The report is based on survey results from just over 1,000 U.S. adults — Generation Z to baby boomers. The survey focused on relationships and personal communications, how and how often people use apps in their daily lives (their “app-tivity” level), and mobile apps and money.

People and communications

For most Americans, relating in the digital universe has gained parity with or even overtaken the impact of physical contact and communications. For example, the majority of adults believe they can be friends with people they’ve met only virtually, never in “real life.” As evidence of increased blending of digital and physical worlds, 42 percent of Americans see no difference between the two, stating that virtual communications are equal to or more meaningful than in-person exchanges.

The study found that our communications with siblings, friends, and parents are mostly via mobile, while we communicate primarily in person with our significant others, children, and colleagues. Our digital mode of choice leans heavily toward texting for everyone except Mom and Dad. Americans choose phone calls to get in touch with our mothers (56 percent) and fathers (55 percent).

Daily life

“As Americans, we rarely realize how ‘app-tive’ we are. Our mobile has become an extension of ourselves and so ingrained in our daily lives to the point where it’s fading into the background,” Nikki Katz, Bank of America’s head of digital strategy and emerging experiences, said in the report.

The top four types of apps on which people depend most are navigation (68 percent), entertainment (58 percent), retail (55 percent), and music (51 percent).

Apps for sure aren’t all fun and games. “Americans prefer an app that is easy to use (35 percent) and efficient (23 percent), compared to one that is entertaining (12 percent) or social (5 percent),” the report states.

Money

American consumers are growing less dependent on cash. Most survey respondents believe a cashless society is coming within their lifetime. Eleven percent predicted cash would disappear within the next year.

Asked how long they could go without using cash, the survey-takers’ answers ranged from just one day (45 percent) to a full year (19 percent).

Person-to-person (P2P) payment technology use is on the rise. Currently, 44 percent of consumers use P2P to transfer money digitally from their accounts to another person’s account. Gen Z (69 percent) leads the P2P trend, ahead of Millennials (51 percent), Gen X (37 percent), and baby boomers (28 percent).

Among people who use P2P, 6 percent use it daily, 24 percent every week, and 34 percent on a monthly basis.

It’s no surprise that mobile banking apps are popular. In 2018, 70 percent of people use banking apps, ranging from 59 percent of baby boomers to 78 percent of Gen Z-ers. Among mobile banking app users, 95 percent believe the apps save time, 80 percent reporting up to an hour per week saved.

BoA’s 2018 report pulled observations from an online survey conducted in May 2018 by Convergys Analytics for the bank. The survey’s nationally representative 1,001 participants were adults 18 and older who own a smartphone and are customers of a bank — not necessarily Bank of America.

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