Brands Must Pay Attention To Fast-Changing Digital World Of Teens [STUDY]

The usage of devices by Teens, aka Gen Z, has changed drastically in the last few years. For brands, it's important to understand the pattern as it is directly aligned with their products' positioning and targeting strategies to have the desired outcome from campaigns.

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Figuring out the lifestyle and consumption patterns of the current teen demographic or the core of Generation Z is all the rage among marketers globally as they are all set to become major decision-makers in the coming years. It’s the digital footprints of the current teenagers in the US what marketers are specifically taking notes of and learning from according to a recent report.

In 2013, it had been estimated that only 49.6% of all 12 to 17-year-olds possessed a smartphone. The penetration of smartphone among teens in the US is set to easily jump to a whopping 83.2% in 2020. A 2019 survey conducted by Comparitech found that 73% of parents in the US admitted that their kids had a smartphone by the time they were 11 to 13 whilst 31% said that their kids had it between ages 6 to 10.

This hereby confirms the fact that teens these days are always wired in or connected and smartphones are their gateway. More children and teens are getting hooked to these devices at a very early age.

Near half, i.e. 48% of teens have reported citing smartphones as their favourite technology above that of gaming which stood at 27% and social media at 20% according to a January 2019 report by Fuse which is a marketing agency.

Generation Z can be called as the ‘true digital natives’ with their overly attached bonding with technology using their smartphones. It might be because of this reason that they are less impressed with the introduction of new gadgets or features compared to that with the older or preceding generations.

“They’re surrounded by technology, stuff is being introduced on a weekly basis,” said Bill Carter, a partner at Fuse. “They see it, and it’s just not all that impressive to them.”

It is because of the same ‘less than impressed’ mindset that it is believed that wearable tech such as smartwatches has low penetration. A mere 14.7% is the estimated figure for smart wearable users in the US aged 12 to 17 in 2020. However, another major cause of this could also be the reluctance of parents wanting to buy their kids another piece of an expensive or premium device as they already have their smartphones.

Source: Emarketer

In the case of smart-speakers as well, the figures speak of an almost similar story. Just about 18.6% of US kids aged 12 to 17 year are expected to be smart speaker users this year which is less than half the levels among those ages 18 to 24 (35.1%) and 25 to 34 (42.5%). Also, just 36.4% of 12 to 17s will be voice assistant users vs. more than half of 18 to 34s. Carter from Fuse Marketing remarked that teens are failing to see any actual use case of voice technology-enabled devices to make their lives any easier.

It has also been forecasted that 97.4% of all US kids aged between 12 and 17 years will use the internet at least once a month in 2020. However, according to teens themselves, it doesn’t imply that all their time is spent online (this is debatable as teens aren’t the most reliable judges when it comes to themselves).

In September 2019, YouGov conducted a polling wherein half of the respondents aged 13 to 17 reported that they go online for less than 2 hours on a typical day themselves. Also, roughly 3 in 10 teens reported spending 3 or more hours.

Source: Emarketer

While some of us who are on the older spectrum compared to these teens, it might just seem that all their time online is spent or rather wasted on consuming useless content or ‘snap chatting’, it’s not quite true.

68% of girls and 59% of boys aged 11 to 17 believe that they often discover a new talent or interest using the internet as reported by a poll conducted in 2019 by the Girl Scout Research Institute. This enables kids to increase their world view and learn more than what’s available on the surface around them.

Time Spent On Video Content Consumption

Amid the consumption patterns of teens, the most noticeable form of content has come out to be of that in the video form. No matter the kind of device that they are using, digital video is winning big. 93.7% of 12- to 17-year-olds in the US will be the primary digital video viewers in 2020 according to emarketer’s estimation.

When it comes to digital video, Youtube happens to be the mainstream platform for the source of their consumption. 92% of 13- to 17-year-olds were reported as weekly Netflix viewers by the National Research Group (NRG) according to their poll conducted in March 2019. Youtube and Netflix have a neck-to-neck viewership competition among teens as of right now.

Source: Emarketer

Now there will be many who, after observing the rising consumption patterns of digital, might want to dismiss and overlook the traditional media such as TV but the amount of time spent in front of the television by teens is not yet negligible.
It is estimated that 12- to 17-year-olds on an average roughly will spend up to 81 minutes per day watching TV in 2020. Similarly, Nielsen data for Q1 2019 showed 12- to 17-year-olds averaging more than an hour a day viewing live TV.

Source: Emarketer

Generation Z To Become Future Decision Makers

By 2020, Gen Z is expected to account for 40% of all customers in the US. Even more astounding, experts believe Generation Z is one of the most powerful consumer forces in the market today. Their buying power is $44 billion and expands to $600 billion when considering the influence they have on their parents’ spending.

It is important to take note of their consumption and lifestyle patterns. Every generation presents challenges but businesses globally must learn to adapt well and adapt quickly. Evolving is as much a part of all industries as any key performance indicators or data.


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