Teen Texting Jumps 8%

Teen Texting Jumps 8%

US teens age 13-17 sent and received average of 8% more text messages in Q2 2010 than in Q2 2009, according to new data from The Nielsen Company.

Teen Females are Queens of Texting
Teens age 13-17 sent and received average of 3,339 monthly text messages in Q2 2010, 8% more than Q2 2009 and more than six per waking hour.

nielsen-text-usage-age.JPG

No one texts more than teens (age 13-17), especially teen females, who send and receive an average of 4,050 texts per month. Teen males also outpace other male age groups, sending and receiving an average of 2,539 texts. Young adults (age 18-24) come in a distant second, exchanging 1,630 texts per month (a comparatively meager three texts per hour).

Texting Trumps Safety
Texting is the main reason teens get a cell phone, with 43% claiming it is their primary reason for getting one. Safety, which was the main teen reason for getting a phone in 2008, is now less important. It is secondary among girls and less so among boys. Keeping in touch with friends is still one of the top three factors, too.

nielsen-teen-ownership-reasons-yoy-oct10.png 

Overall, percentages of teens citing specific reasons for obtaining a cell phone did not greatly vary between Q2 2009 and Q2 2010.

Voice Usage Drops in Younger than 55
Tracking use of voice telephony by age group, voice usage declined in every age bracket younger than 55 between Q2 2009 and Q2 2010. It slightly increased among the 55-to-64-year-old and 65 and older demographics.

nielsen-text-voice-usage-age-oct-2010.JPG

Voice activity has decreased 14% among teens, who average 646 minutes talking on the phone per month. Teen females, who are more social with their phones, average about 753 minutes per month, while males use around 525 minutes.

Teens Use More Mobile Data, Apps
While teen usage of mobile data and applications does not reach levels of activity seen by young adults, it has increased substantially since Q2 2009, growing from 14 MB to 62 MB. This fourfold increase is the largest jump among all age groups. Much of this boost is led by males, who are more gadget-savvy and consume 75 MB of data, compared to 17 MB in Q2 2009. Teen females use about 53 MB of data, compared to 11 MB a year ago.

nielsen-data-usage-among-teens-yoy-oct10.png

Teens are not only using more data, but they are also downloading a wider range of applications. Software downloads among teen subscribers who use apps enjoyed a solid 46% increase in activity, from 26% to 38%. This includes popular apps such as Facebook, Pandora or YouTube.

Usage of the mobile web has also surpassed activity on pre-installed games, ringtone downloads and instant messaging. Other mobile activities like mail and text alerts have also seen significant growth.

Teens Text 5x More than Adults
Teens ages 12-17 send and receive a median of five times more texts per day than adult texters, according to recent data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Slightly more than half (51%) of adults who text send one to 10 texts per day, compared to 22% of teens.

The percentages of texting adults and teens who send 11-20 and 21-50 average daily texts are fairly similar. Where teens begin to outpace adults is in the percentage who send 51-100 average texts daily (18% to 7%), and more notably in the percentage who send 101-plus average texts daily (29% to 8%).

Ultimately, adults who text typically send and receive a median of 10 texts a day; teens who text send and receive a median of 50 texts per day.

About the Data: Nielsen used recent data from monthly cell phone bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers as well as survey data from more than 3,000 teens.