Teens Use Cell Phones to Stay in Touch with Family and Friends, Not to Look 'Cool'
Published on: 5th October 2007
OTX (Online Testing eXchange) has published the latest results from its Teen Topix study. 750 teens across the country were surveyed about their mobile phone preferences and behavior. A key finding of the study was insight into the way cell phones make teens 'feel' and the benefits they get from cell phone ownership.
When asked about benefits, a majority of teens cited reasons such as 'convenience of being able to communicate from anywhere (77%)' and 'security of being able to reach family (75%)' as major benefits. Much lower on the list were friends' admiration of their cell phone features (41%) or look (39%). When asked specifically how cell phones made them 'feel', teens again opted for connectivity with friends (71%), connectivity with family (63%) and being responsible (61%), over important (31%), fashionable (30%), or trendy (27%).
The Teen Topix survey taps into the lives of the 13-17 year old set and is done in conjunction with eCRUSH, a PG-13 social networking site.
"This release of Teen Topix sheds new light on many marketers' image of teens," said Amy Gibby, President of eCRUSH. "Its not all about 'look' and 'fashion' when it comes to this category, teens are practical and look for many of the same benefits we all do."
The study also found that of all the gadgets and devices available today, the cell phone is a teen favorite. 51% of teens said they "absolutely could not live without" their cell phones. When teens were asked about the mobile phone features they have and use, text messaging was overwhelmingly cited as the feature they use most (72%), followed by the ability to customize wall paper (72%), take digital pictures (63%), and play games which come with the phone (56%). Much lower on the list was downloading music (36%), and downloading videos (22%) Text messaging was also cited as the feature teens want most (among those that don't have this feature), well ahead of taking digital pictures, downloading music, or using an instant messenger program.
And, cell phones are rapidly becoming the "new" medium for viewing music videos! 41% of teens surveyed have video downloading capability on their cell phones and approximately half of those teens are actually downloading and viewing videos. Among these teens, music videos are the most watched type (67%), followed by user generated content (27%), full length TV shows (24%) and clips from TV shows (24%). 31% of teens who watch video on their cell phones also reported that their consumption of TV, DVDs, and movies has not decreased.
"As media companies move into the mobile space, it's critically important to understand how the teen demographic uses mobile technology for entertainment and the extent to which this usage affects their other media and leisure time behaviors," said Bruce Friend, President, Media and Entertainment Insights for OTX.
How does owning a cell phone make you feel
- 71% Connected with friends
- 63% Connected with family
- 61% Responsible
- 58% Safe
- 46% Cool
- 34% Like I fit in with everyone else
- 33% High tech
- 31% Important
- 30% Fashionable
- 27% Trendy
- 17% Older than I actually am
- 10% Too accessible
- 4% Concerned about potential health hazards related to using the phone
Benefits of owing a cell phone
- 77% The convenience of being able to communicate from anywhere
- 75% The security of always being able to reach my family
- 72% The convenience of never being out of touch
- 63% The ability to multitask
- 56% The fun of having entertainment on the go (games, music, video) on my phone
- 53% The ability to express myself by adding wallpaper, ringtones or skins
- 41% My friends admire my phone because of the features it has
- 39% My friends admire my phone because of the way it looks
Features teens have and use on their cell phones
- 72% Text Message (SMS)
- 72% Customize my phone with wallpapers
- 63% Take digital photos/videos
- 56% Play games (which come with the phone)
- 51% Picture Message (MMS)
- 51% Download ringtones
- 41% Download graphics such as screensavers, wallpapers or pictures
- 40% Instant Message or IM (through AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc)
- 36% Download music
- 33% Download games
- 30% Surf the internet / view websites
- 22% Download videos (long and short form)
- 19% Listen to FM Radio
- 18% Get sports scores
- 16% GPS (Global Positioning System)
- 12% Watch regular TV
Which of the following cell phone features do you want most
- 45% Text Message (SMS)
- 29% Take digital photos/videos
- 24% Surf the internet / view websites
- 24% Download music
- 21% Watch regular TV
- 19% Instant Message or IM (through AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc)
- 19% Download videos (long and short form)
- 16% Listen to FM Radio
- 15% Picture Message (MMS)
- 14% GPS (Global Positioning System)
- 13% Download ringtones
- 4% Customize my phone with wallpapers or pictures of my favorite TV stars, cartoon characters or sports stars
- 7% Play games (which come with the phone)
- 4% Download games
- 4% Get sports scores
- 3% Download graphics such as screensavers, wallpapers or pictures
What type of videos are you watching on your cell phone?
- 67% Music videos
- 27% User generated content (videos like the ones you can watch on YouTube.com)
- 24% Full length TV shows
- 24% Clips from TV shows
- 23% Movie trailers
- 23% Full length movies
- 12% News clips
- 4% Other
Since you have been watching videos on your cell phone, do you do any of the following less often?
- 27% Watch DVDs
- 27% Watch TV
- 26% See movies in a theater
- 25% Watch video on my MP3 player (video iPod or Zune)
- 22% Watch video on my computer (desktop or laptop)
- 31% None of the above