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Millennials call camera most important mobile feature

Millennials want to use the built-in camera on their mobile device for more than just taking social snaps, a new study shows.

The top two activities they would like to use their smartphone camera for include authorising purchases and verifying their identity, according to a survey which asked over 3000 millennials in the US, Canada and the UK about their mobile habits and preferences.

The survey was conducted by Osterman Research on behalf of Mitek in August 2016.

While a small proportion of respondents currently use their smartphone camera to authorise purchases (4 per cent), nearly half (46 per cent) said they would do so if the option were available.

This capability is already becoming reality. After piloting a “selfie pay” option earlier this year, MasterCard launched Identity Check in October, which verifies the cardholder’s identity through fingerprint and facial recognition technology.

The survey also found that a majority of millennials have experienced problems with passwords online, with 54 per cent forgetting their password, and 57 per cent typing it incorrectly from a mobile device. Ultimately, 40 per cent have been locked out of an account for not entering their password correctly.

While photo-based verification offers a possible alternative to passwords, the survey respondents were divided on this topic. Roughly the same proportion said they would prefer to take a photograph of themselves to confirm their identity instead of answer knowledge-based questions (42 per cent) as not (35 per cent).

This is in contrast to the quality of the mobile experience, which respondents largely agreed was crucial. Eight-five per cent of US millennials said that a good mobile user experience is important or essential for a bank or retailer to do business with them.

And 44 per cent have made a purchase decision or switched a provider based on the mobile user experience, the survey found. About one-third said they wished the retail industry was more mobile friendly, behind restaurants, cinemas and banks.

A good mobile experience becomes more important to millennials as they age, with 53 per cent of older respondents saying so, compared to 39 per cent of younger ones.

The survey split respondents into three age groups – younger (aged 18-22), mid-range (aged 23-28) and older millennials (aged 29-34) – and found responses often varied between groups. For instance, concerns about security decreased as millennials got older, while concerns about convenience increased.

Older millennials were more likely to make frequent purchases than younger millennials: 30 per cent of older millennials, compared to 16 per cent of younger ones, conduct transactions using their mobile devices a few times per week or more.

They were also more likely to say that the camera is the most important function on their mobile device, and were more likely to want to fill out forms and complete sign-up processes by taking a picture of state-issued ID or a selfie.

This is the first time the Mitek survey has broken down millennials into three distinct groups. “What surprised us is that the older ones showed a much higher degree of usage of the mobile camera feature,” Kalle Marsal, Mitek’s CMO told Internet Retailing.

As older millennials become the dominant consumer group in most mature markets, retailers will need to pay close attention to their preferences on mobile, he says.

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