Kids and Their Phones
Published: March 16, 2005 (After March 23, 2005, this article will only be available to eStat Database subscribers.)A new study by NOP World indicates that 44% of US tweens and teens between the ages of 10 and 18 own a cell phone.
Mobile phone ownership penetration has increased from just 13% of 12 to 14 year-olds to fully 40%, while penetration among 15 to 17 year-olds has increased from 42% to 75%. Overall, 16 million young people ages 10 to 18 own a mobile phone.
A similar survey taken in mid-2004 by Taylor Research & Consulting Group found cell phone ownership levels among kids lower than those revealed by the NOP World study. However, the Taylor study only covered 8 to 15 year olds, while NOP’s survey includes 16 to 18 year-olds. Older teens have higher mobile phone ownership levels, which brings up the average for the entire age range.
Taylor Group’s data indicated that cell phone ownership was on the rise, but more kids owned or had in their room other kinds of electronics. For example, 35% had regular telephones, compared to the 21% who had mobile phones. Just over 70% had TVs in their rooms, and 81% had stereos or CD players.
NOP found that many teens are interested in phones that can act as MP3 players or digital cameras, suggesting that cell phone penetration may increase as they come to serve multiple entertainment purposes.
Taylor Group also found that girls were more likely to have cell phones than boys and were also more likely to possess regular telephones, cameras and stereos. Boys were more likely to have TVs, DVD players and video game systems.
While kids and teens are often notoriously mercurial in their brand allegiances, NOP finds that they are fairly loyal when it comes to cell phones — 77% say they have stayed with their first mobile service provider, and only 11% of respondents plan to switch providers in the next 6 months.
Interestingly, Verizon and Cingular are by far the most familiar mobile phone providers among US teens, with over 40% of respondents saying that they are aware of these companies. AT&T Wireless, which recently merged with Cingular, is well known to 20% of teens. As Ben Rogers, Vice President of NOP World Technology notes, with the acquisition of AT&T Wireless, “Cingular has a clear opportunity to catapult ahead of Verizon when it comes to brand recognition among teens and tweens.” However, it is not clear how much of AT&T Wireless’s name recognition will migrate over with the company to Cingular, since, after all, the “AT&T” name will disappear.
As cell phone ownership continues to increase among teens and tweens, mobile marketing will represent an excellent way for advertisers to reach this crucial age group. For more information about the mobile marketing sector, read the Mobile Marketing report, available on eMarketer’s Web site.