Thursday, January 19, 2006

Yankee Group: The Tween Market Has Potential to Double by 2010

Yankee Group has issued a new report that predicts the "tween market is the next new growth opportunity for wireless carriers. The tween market, defined as 8- to 12-year-olds, has 5.3 million wireless users, accounting for 2.6% of all wireless subscribers. Amongst tweens, 27% have cell phones—a penetration rate that is almost one-third that of the overall wireless industry average as of year-end 2005."

According to Yankee Group "Ten- to 12-year-olds will continue to dominate the market segment, making up more than 75% of the tween market." The 8- and 9-year-old market is expected "to have low penetration because of lack of parent demand for wireless, as well as parental concerns regarding cost control and an overall hesitancy about introducing their children to cell phones at a young age."

Some of the factors for growth include:

  • Overall market saturation is driving carriers to target underpenetrated market segments
  • Operators are increasingly adopting segmented marketing practices—either directly or through MVNOs—to create more targeted devices, plans and services
  • Natural evolution of technology adoption moving toward late adopters such as tweens and elderly, as wireless becomes more embedded in society
Marina Amoroso at Yankee Group said, "In order to capitalize on the market’s growth potential, handset vendors and carriers must improve how they market to the tween audience. Devices need to be cool not cute, and carriers should tailor family share plans to personalize their offer for tween audiences in order to appeal to both kids and parents."

I have two tweens and both lack a handset. We've started to give the 10 year old one of our cell phones when he's out playing with friends, but otherwise there really is no need for him to have one. It's not like he has anyone to call at this point.

As for marketing to tweens, do the operators really have to do anything different? Tweens might drive the handset selection, but it will be mom and/or dad who will be paying the bills. Also if handset is cool enough for teenagers then most likely it'll be cool enough for the tweens....