As the world changes, it's important for business owners and marketers to keep up with shifting trends in consumer behavior. For example, over the past 15 years, technology has increased the number of ways people can connect with brands and an increasingly global marketplace has created more competition among brands. To help marketers understand young consumers from around the world, a recent report from GlobalWebIndex (GWI) explores the popular millennial audience in detail and reveals useful information on the demographics, brand attitudes, and perceptions that make these consumers unique.

GWI surveyed more than 350,000 internet users from age 16 to 64. From these responses, the researchers focused on respondents between the ages of 21 to 34. The study has a global focus, but the information is separated by region to make it more useful to marketers. While some things are common among all age groups (e.g. having access to the internet), the study showed that marketers can rely on certain trends from their millennial consumers.

A key takeaways from the report include the fact millennial consumers are much more likely to use their mobile devices to access the internet. According to GWI, two-thirds (68 percent) of millennial respondents chose their mobile as their most important device, compared to just 16 percent for laptop and 14 percent for desktop PC. This group also use an average of 2.8 devices to access the internet, and average nearly four hours spent online each day.

"Practically all online Millennials own a smartphone, they are most likely to identify their mobile as their more important internet device, and they are spending almost as long online via mobile as via all other devices combined," wrote the GWI researchers in their report. "Across most social, entertainment and online commerce activities, mobiles are the preferred devices for this group."

The report also highlights the way Millennials use search engines to connect with brands and find information. According to the GWI report, search engines are the first stop for brand research, with nearly half (49 percent) of Millennials using this channel. Similarly, social networks are also highly impactful for purchasing decisions, with 44 percent of global millennials researching products and services via platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.

When it comes to their ecommerce expectations, Millennial consumers expects retailers to keep prices low and to offer certain perks that were once premium extras. The report highlights the importance of free delivery, with 58 percent of Millennials stating that this is the most influential purchase driver (with coupons and discounts coming second).

A less favorable, but still important finding from the report involves ad blockers. About 50 percent of Millennials in the North American market are using ad blockers. However, though many Millennials use ad-blockers, this doesn't necessarily mean they never see ads. According to the GWI research, despite half of Millennials saying they've blocked ads in the last month, almost a third have discovered brands through ads seen online.

The fact that ad-blocking Millennials still learn about new products from ads shows the power of platforms like Facebook. Most ad blockers don't work with Facebook so ads shown on their ad network can still reach target audiences. Also, many users whitelist the sites they like the most (and that have the least obtrusive advertising). So while ad blocking is a growing concern for online marketers, there are still ways to reach consumers have become weary of traditional online ads.

The report from GWI has a lot of great information about the way Millennials consumers behave and interact with digital media in areas around the world. Business owners and marketer can use the data to craft more engaging campaigns that reach the audiences they need to build their brands into the future.

For more recent research to help marketers craft better campaigns, read this article on getting better reviews on social media.