A Portrait of the Digital Life of Teens – The Buyer’s Journey 75

eMarketer’s latest report goes in-depth on the digital life of teens. On today’s episode we discuss some key findings and what you need to keep in mind when marketing to the next generation of consumers.

The Key Stats

  • eMarketer estimates about 8 in 10 kids 12-17 own a smartphone. Furthermore, it’s the most often electronic device used.
  • 81.1% of 12- to 17-year-olds will be smartphone owners this year, eMarketer estimates. In addition, eMarketer expects smartphone penetration for this demographic to reach 85.0% in 2022.
  • About 93.4% of teens 12-to-17 this year will watch digital video. More than 80% use YouTube, with about two-thirds doing so daily, according to one survey.
  • eMarketer says that “about seven in 10 of those in the 12-to-17 age group use social networks. Though many still use Facebook—45.9% this year, by our estimate—it has been eclipsed by Instagram and Snapchat.” You can see more of this breakdown in the chart below.

eMarketer reports that there is almost no variatation by race and ethnicity for smartphone owners or those who had access. The Pew Research Center polling of teens in March and April 2018 found that 95% of 13-to-17s reported having their own smartphone or access to one. Common Sense Media also found 88% of teens in lower-income families had a smartphone, as did 87% in middle-income and 92% in upper-income families.

The Importance of Communication

Texting is also teen’s favorite way to communicate, though many texts are often photo messages. “We see a trend toward more pictures,” said Heather Watson, consulting and behavioral insights lead at the Center for Generational Kinetics, to eMarketer. “Sometimes, you’ll just send videos back and forth, a lot like Snapstreaks,” she said. She also sees significant FaceTime usage among teens. The reason? “[B]ecause it means they don’t have to type something in, and they’re getting tired of typing.”

Nearly all US teens are digital video viewers. According to eMarketer, Deloitte polling in November 2017 found respondents ages 14 to 20 averaging 22 hours a week watching streaming video, the most of any age group in the survey. YouTube is a big part of this. Pew’s polling of 13-to-17s identified 89% of boys and 81% of girls as YouTube viewers.

Interestingly enough, some of teens’ usage occurs when they should be sleeping. In April 2018 polling of 13-to-18s by Screen Education, 80% said they “typically spend time on their phone after they go to bed.” Among that 80%, 22% reported spending 2 or more hours on their phones before going to sleep; 18% reported spending 1 or 2 hours. 

Check out our next episode where we’ll discuss a news article covering the Purchase stage of The Buyer’s Journey.

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