updated 01:00 am EDT, Wed October 9, 2013
Ownership of iPhone rising dramatically among teens, loyalty to iOS high
In the latest instalment of his semi-annual survey of US teens from average and above-average income homes, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has found yet again that such teenagers desire the iPhone and iPad, and that their next tablet or smartphone purchase is also likely to be an iPhone or iPad. In particular, iPhone ownership among the middle- and upper-class teen demographic has risen significantly over the past year, now at 55 percent -- a 15 percent year-over-year gain.
The trend is also reflected in tablets, with 68 percent of the teen survey group who own a tablet saying they chose an iPad, and tablet ownership overall rising to 56 percent from 44 percent a year ago. Among the tablet owners, just 23 percent own an Android tablet, while just nine percent have a Kindle Fire (which, although it runs a fork of Android, isn't considered a true "Android tablet" in this study).
The good news for Apple continued when the survey asked teens what brand next smartphone purchase would be. Sixty-five percent said it would be an iPhone, 10 percentage points higher than those that currently own one. Only 24 percent indicated that their next smartphone would be Android, with seven percent saying "other" (presumably meaning a Windows Phone-based smartphone) and one percent saying BlackBerry. Curiously, four percent of respondents said their next phone wouldn't be a smartphone at all, a surprising finding (though only half the amount from last year) that may be driven by those teens leaving home and having to pay their own bills as part of their transition to adulthood.
Among tablet buyers, Apple's loyalty continued. Of the 20 percent of respondents who said they would be buying a tablet computer in the next six months, 64 percent picked the iPad (with 52 percent choosing the full-size model, while 12 percent preferred the iPad mini). This reinforces recent speculation by analysts that there is a significant base of iPad owners ready to upgrade (or purchase for the first time).
Android tablets were the choice of 28 percent, a significant rise from the 16 percent who said they would buy an Android tablet a year ago (a further eight percent expected their future tablet to be a Kindle Fire). Those choosing the iPad are still dominant, but 64 percent of future buyers is actually down 11 percent from a year ago -- indicating that Android tablets may finally be gaining some footing with the teen demographic. Interestingly, among current Android tablet owners, the percent has changed little year-over-year -- rising from 20 percent to 23 percent -- with Android smartphone ownership also remaining mostly flat (24 percent this year versus 22 percent last year).
Currently, nearly half of US teens from affluent families do not yet own a tablet, indicating that there is still room in that market for Apple to grow -- though the number of teens who don't yet own a tablet continues to shrink at a rapid pace. The survey was conducted with the help of 8,643 teenagers from across the US from families whose income matched the US family yearly average of $54,000, or from the high-income bracket of $104,000 per year or higher.