LONDON: Mobile and social media have changed the boundaries of what is regarded as socially acceptable behaviour among millennials, almost three quarters of whom have to have their mobile phones with them at all times.

A study by media agency Havas Media and mcommerce platform Weve surveyed 3,000 people in the UK and found that two-thirds of 16-24 year-olds checked their phones during a lull in conversation with friends or colleagues and nearly as many (61%) felt it was OK to use their device during dinner with family or friends.

The great majority of this age group (81%) thought it fine to use their mobile in a quiet zone, on a train, for example, or in a library and a similar proportion (79%) saw nothing wrong in using these while on the toilet.

Another noteworthy change was a widespread failure to plan ahead, with 35% not bothering to do so and instead relying on their mobile phones.

Nigel Clarkson, Weve's commercial director, observed that the importance people placed on their phones was not news. "What is interesting though is a shift to almost total dependence on the mobile for so many different utilities and services," he said.

"Given the contextual capabilities of mobile, like location data, immediacy, and presence in apps and content sites, we believe there is still so much more the marketing community can do to fully take advantage of this huge cultural shift in behaviour," he continued.

They could note, for instance, that 41% of young people agreed that it was acceptable for brands to send text messages based on location as long as permission had been granted. And one third preferred ads on social networks and mobile to look the same as the content they were consuming

Amy Kean, Head of futures at Havas Media Labs, added that mobile had changed the human psyche and that as a result "marketing should be changing too".

"It's the brands who understand the complexities of this new narcissistic, spontaneous and mobile-dependent consumer that will stand out amongst the noise," she said.

Data sourced from Weve, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff