Teens Ditching TV & PCs for Mobile Devices

According to a new survey conducted by Refuel Agency, ‘millennial teens’ are spending less time in front of their TVs and computers.  While many parents might find that to be good news, it isn’t because they are reading more books or playing outside more.  Instead, they are spending more time in front of smart phones, tablets and even video game consoles.

Teens Ditching TV & PCs for Mobile Devices

The study looked at the ‘screen time’ habits of 16 to 19 year olds to see where they were spending their time.  In past surveys it was found that teens were spending a lot of time watching television and on computers (including laptops).  The latest survey, however, finds that teens spend far more time on cell phones and smart phones than they do TVs or traditional computers.

What is Most Important

The following is the breakdown of which electronics teens have said is most important to them:

  • Smart Phones – 55%
  • Laptops – 18%
  • Tablets – 12%
  • Music Players – 8%
  • TV – 7%

As you can see, teens overwhelmingly say that their smart phones are the most important electronic device that they use.  Some people might find it surprising that only 7% of teens reported that television is the most important.

Where is Time Being Spent

From the survey, teens are spending approximately 6.3 hours per day on their Smartphone.  This is an average of the respondents.  Computers get used an average of 3.5 hours per day, which is the same as TVs.  Video game consoles get 2.1 hours and tablets 1.9 hours.

When you combine cell phones and tablets (which traditionally make up the ‘mobile device’ category) teens are spending more than twice as much time on these devices than anything else.

What Does it Mean for Marketers

Teens are a growing target audience for marketers today. While many of them don’t have the resources to make direct purchases at the same level as adults, they can still drive sales.  Parents are used to spending a significant amount of money on their children, so marketing directly to teens often makes sense.

The fact that the teens have smart phones and tablets shows that parents are more than willing to spend significant amounts of money on these types of ‘luxury’ items.

The bottom line for marketers is that if they want to reach teens at all, they need to be doing it through mobile devices.  Television commercials are less effective than ever not only because teens are watching less TV but also because commercials are often ‘fast forwarded’ through thanks to DVRs.  Even PC ads are dropping in usefulness for this market.

Setting up a high quality mobile advertising strategy to target teens can be extremely effective.  They are already used to spending a lot of time with these devices and most of them seem to accept advertising as a part of the process.  When done properly, mobile marketing to teens can be extremely successful.

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