Boomers, Zoomers, and Mobile Apps 

The smartphone reigns supreme.

In 2019, Americans spent on average 3.5 hours a day on their phones. They checked their phones 58 times a day, with 30 of those during working hours (9 am to 5 pm). Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hours increased. Nowadays, people living in the top mobile-first markets, including Canada, devote a third of their waking time to mobile apps. That’s about 4.5 hours per day. 

Not coincidentally, the mobile app marketplace in Canada has been growing increasingly bigger and more lucrative. In 2019, the global mobile application market size was valued at a whopping $154.05 billion US dollars. Going forward, the market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of $11.50. This is excellent news for Canadian app developers as well as Canadians with promising ideas for apps that they’d like to realize by, for instance, working with a mobile app developer in Montreal

The New Glowing Screen 

Our appetite for screens has grown seriously larger since the dawn of the television. 4.5 hours is how much time American households in 1949-1950 spent watching TV per day. That’s American households, not individuals. 

Mobile phones are the new glowing rectangles we keep our eyes glued to, and we keep our eyes glued to them far more than our grandparents and great-grandparents kept their eyes glued to their TVs. 

TVs vs Mobile Apps for Different Generations

Media and technology habits vary by generation and age group

Millennials and Zoomers spend more time with their eyes glued to their mobile phones than Boomers. This is partly due to media habits that we start developing at a young age. Boomers, as teenagers, were accustomed to coming home from school and plopping themselves in front of the TV. Now, many Boomers do the same when they come home from work. They’re creatures of media habits. (The same is even more true for the Silent Generation.) 


Zoomers are also creatures of media habits but they’ve never lived in a world that revolves around the TV. Their world revolves around the mobile phone. When they finish school for the day, they don’t need to wait until they reach home to glue their eyes to their favourite screen. They can take out their favourite screen the moment the bell rings at 3 pm—as well as during recess, between classes, and even surreptitiously during class. (Having a healthy relationship with their phone is key for Zoomers.) 

Millennials and Gen Xers

Millennials and Gen Xers are in a unique position. They’ve grown up in a world that moved from revolving around the TV to revolving around the mobile phone. Most Millennials and Gen Xers, if forced to choose between one or the other, would choose the mobile phone. After all, for many, life on a desert island would be better with a mobile phone than a TV. 

Mobile Phone vs TV

Watching phones is easier, more convenient, and more all-around engaging than watching TV screens, despite how small phones are, and phones give us far more control over what we do with our screen time, including how we watch movies and shows. So, although movies and TV shows aren’t losing popularity, TVs themselves seem to be going the way of the dodo bird.  The mobile phone reigns supreme.