Monday, December 12, 2005

Forrester Research: Young Consumers and Tech

Forrester Research has issued a new report that finds "young consumers are using more technology at a younger age to connect with more people than ever before, according to a survey of more than 5,000 US and Canadian online youth between the ages of 12 and 21."

Some of the findings are:

  • 87 percent of 15-year-olds use instant messaging
  • nearly half of 12- to 14-year-olds have a mobile phone
Chris Charron at Forrester Research said, "Marketing executives have been staring in wonder at their own tech-savvy children and asking, 'Are all teenagers as wired as my own kids?' The answer is 'yes.' We are seeing a generation of young people for whom technology is not just a nice-to-have — it's a critical part of their lives. There's been a lot of speculation about the breadth and depth of technology use among young people. This data begins to codify that discussion."

Other highlights include:
  • Young people are communication junkies. Eighty-three percent use IM versus just 32 percent of online adults. More than three out of four young consumers have a mobile phone.
  • MP3 players top the device wish list. Twenty-five percent of young consumers said they plan to purchase an MP3 player in the next 12 months.
  • Entertainment grabs their online time. Young consumers spend almost 11 hours per week online, while nearly one in five of the youngest of this group (ages 12 to 17) spend 20 hours or more per week online.
  • Eighty-eight percent of boys ages 12 to 17 own a game console, compared with 63 percent of girls the same age. Fifty-five percent of boys would rather play games than watch TV.
  • Young consumers represent the social marketing vanguard. Fifty-two percent say they rely on recommendations from friends or family when making a purchase, compared with just 34 percent of adults.
Charron added, "These consumers are a portrait of the future. Companies should look to this younger generation for inspiration in the design of new products and services. Young consumers have no preconceived notions of what advertising should be. They have no problem with the lines between advertising and editorial being blurry. Because they have grown up to be more self-reliant in a digital environment, they have confidence in their ability to distinguish between the two. And there's more good news for marketers: The viral nature of their communication with each other is a behavior that marketers can tap into."