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iPhone now owned by 40% of US teens

Apple increasingly becoming the choice for the teen demographic

While Sony's PS Vita has been struggling and the Nintendo 3DS has been faring well, there's no hiding the fact that smartphones and tablets are having an impact, and it's not just with adults. The younger teen audience that Nintendo typically caters to is gravitating towards Apple products more and more. A new Piper Jaffray survey found that out of 7,700 teens, 40 percent now own an iPhone.

It's a trend that's on the rise with American teens. In the spring of 2011 only 17 percent owned an iPhone - that number doubled to 34 percent by spring 2012. And now 62 percent also say that they intend to buy an iPhone as their next smartphone. The report does not state whether these teens are getting older model iPhones or the new iPhone 5.

As the LA Times points out, there's a good chance that many teens are getting hand-me-downs from older siblings or parents.

"We are reaffirmed that Apple remains the preeminent technology brand for teens," Gene Munster, a senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, wrote in the report. "Overall, we expect Apple devices to continue to expand in teen ownership, and we believe the company is set up well to benefit from loyalty among its younger user base."

It's not just smartphones that are getting teens' attention. Piper Jaffray reported that the number of teens who own a tablet has increased from 34 percent in spring 2012 to 44 percent in fall 2012; importantly, 72 percent of those who do own a tablet own an iPad. And if Apple does release the iPad mini this fall, as expected, the iPad market is likely to grow even more with the teen audience.

This can't be good news for dedicated handhelds. The developers are moving where the audience is, and that seems to be on mobile. Each week, we hear about another big name PC/console developer switching to mobile, like Tony Goodman, or just today, Stuart Black.

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Latest comments (9)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.4 years ago
40% of teens own an iPhone and 44% own a tablet?

In what world?
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I'm guessing 40% of teens have an iPhone and 44% of households have a tablet (of which 72% is an iPad)?

I do doubt wether the 7700 teens interviewed represent a proper cross section of the population. Either that or the economic crisis is not as bad as it looks. ;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Laurens Bruins on 11th October 2012 8:04pm

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
I hate surveys like this because interviewing 7700, and then saying that is indicative or representative of what I'd estimate is about 30 million US teenagers, is not at all accurate. Asking about 0.025% of a group a question does not give a definitive answer for that group.
That's not to say it's not useful to someone in the absence of better data, but the statement "iPhone owned by 40% of US teens" is not the same as "iPhones owned by 40% of the 7700 US teens we surveyed".
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Show all comments (9)
Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
Boy I bet that 7,700 teen survey was a great socioeconomic cross-section...
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
7,700 is a statistically valid sample size. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantitative_research
Piper Jaffray are a bank so are hardly likely to have done this research themselves. It would be interesting to know who actually did it, but they will certainly be CASRO.
Piper Jaffray commission huge amounts of research: http://www.piperjaffray.com/2col.aspx?id=123 So I would think that these findings are professionally produced, are accurate and are valid.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
It may be a valid sample size, but not if the sign up for the survey was conducted in a shopping mall 30 seconds from an Apple Store, etc. Did they ensure they got answers from teens from run-down neighbourhoods, etc? It's like me emailing out a survey that says "have you ever used the internet before?" and coming to the conclusion that 100% of the world's population has used the internet.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers4 years ago
It certainly shows an increased interest in smartphones and tablets by the upcoming millennial generation. I don't find the phone revelation too shocking, given that most teenagers consider having one as much a need as a want, and it's becoming easier and easier to pick one up, especially by second-hand means. Also, it's possible to get iPhones (and other smartphones) for free when you sign up for contracts.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Radd on 12th October 2012 4:04pm

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Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd4 years ago
Also, it's possible to get iPhones (and other smartphones) for free when you sign up for contracts.
Or rather, it's easy to think you're getting an iPhone for free when you sign up for a contract.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
I do wonder how many of those teens bought that iPhone (and contract) with their OWN money. Its probably going to be less than the percentage listed and probably less than those who may have also purchased (or could purchase) a handheld or home console where you don't necessarily need an adult around to sign on the dotted line.

Eh, whatever - surveys these days seem to be focused on getting people to all agree that whatever they're about is accurate under all conditions (at least until the next survey or one paid for by a competitor is taken that shows otherwise).
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