Teenagers and texting. These days the two seem to be synonymous. Peas in a pod. Birds of a feather. When you look out across the landscape at your local mall and all you see are what seem to be zombies, heads lowered, fingers clicking on glowing blue screens, realize that you are witnessing the zeitgeist. A cultural phenomenon that the 2010 Nielsen Mobile Report calls “the centerpiece of mobile teen behavior.”
That’s because teens aged 13-17 text far more than any other age group by a long-shot. According to the report, which was released Oct. 14, teens send and receive 3,339 texts a month. That’s six texts every hour they’re awake, an eight percent jump from last year.
The Nielsen report collected data from monthly cell phone bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers as well as surveyed over 3,000 teens. Using these findings, Nielsen analyzed mobile usage data among teens in the United States for the second quarter of 2010 (April 2010 – June 2010).
The trends indicated that texting among teenagers at the moment is king, with 43 percent saying it’s their primary reason for getting a cell phone. SMS messages usurped safety’s throne in the “primary reason for getting a cell phone” field, which dropped to second place for girls and lower for boys, according to the report.
The other big winner was the usage of apps, which has been making a strong run now that smartphones have become powerful, ubiquitous, and addictive.
It’s my opinion that the trends will continue on their trajectories. Voice has fallen by the wayside and will hereafter be an important but peripheral service offered on telephones. Instead, we will see a data boom that will only become more integrated as broadband accelerates. Apps have been making a strong push too and will continue to ride the smartphone wave. The most popular demographic for app usage is the 18-24 range, but teens are quickly catching on. Smartphone makers such as Apple and Google have made apps central to the cell phone experience. Despite Microsoft’s efforts with the WP7 and its nifty hubs-and-tiles interface, apps are here to stay. As people become more savvy with them, usage will increase.
Usage Statistics (According to Nielsen’s 2010 Teen Mobile Report)
- Teens (13-17) send and receive 3,339 texts a month, that’s 6 texts per hour they’re awake and an 8 percent jump from last year
- Teen females text more than anyone, sending and receiving an average of 4,050 texts a month
- Teen males send and receive 2,539 texts a month
- Young adults (18-24) send and receive 1,630 texts per month, an average of three texts an hour
- 43 percent of teens say the number one reason for getting their phones is to text, followed by 25 percent for safety, 34 percent for keeping in touch with friends, and 26 percent for keeping in touch with family
- 78 percent prefer texting to phone calls, with 22 percent considering it easier and 20 percent considering it faster than voce
- Voice activity has decreased 14 percent among teens, who average 646 minutes talking on the phone each month
- Teen females talk average 753 minutes talking each month
- Teen males use 525 minutes each month on average
Data Usage According to Nielsen
- 94 percent of teen subscribers identify themselves as advanced data users, which means they use cell phones for messaging, Internet, multimedia, gaming and downloads
- Teen data usage has increased from 14 MB in quarter 2 of last year to 62 MB in the same quarter this year, the largest jump in data usage among all age groups
- Males consume 75 MB of data, versus 17 MB in Q2 last year
- Females consume 53 MB of data, compared with 11 MB a year ago
- Software downloads increased by 12 percent since last year, from 26 to 38 percent. This was fueled by usage of the most popular apps such as Facebook, Pandora, and Youtube. Downloaded software has surpassed pre-installed games, ringtone downloads and instant messaging, too.