Two-thirds (67%) of US mobile phone users age 15-24 have a feature phone, according to a new study from The Nielsen Company. “Mobile Youth Around the World” indicates that as of Q2 2010, 28% of US mobile subscribers had smartphones. Thus youth in the US exceed the population average smartphone penetration by 5%.
Study data also indicates out of eight countries examined, Italy leads in smartphone penetration with 47% of young people ages 15-24 owning a smartphone, compared to 31% of adults over 25. Smartphone penetration among European youth averages 28% in the countries surveyed, while penetration among older adults in Europe is 27%.
Outside the US, It’s Mostly a Guy Thing
All countries tend to skew male in smartphone adoption with one notable exception; the US, where 55% of smartphone users age 15-24 are female. In the overall US smartphone population, 55% were male. India had the most severe gender imbalance for smartphone use among subscribers 15-24 (80% male).
Chinese Youth Lead Many Mobile Data Categories, US Youth Lead Mobile Email
At 70%, young Chinese advanced data users have a significantly higher mobile internet usage rate than the rest of the world. The US comes in a distant second with 48% usage among mobile subscribers age 15-24.
Rates of young mobile internet usage are extremely low in Brazil (5%) and India (4%). Among European youth, those in the UK are more likely to use mobile internet (46%), with 20% or more usage than other European countries including Russia (39%) and Italy (24%).
US youth are the clear global leaders in mobile email usage (39%), more than doubling the next-highest rate of mobile email use (Russia, 19%). This may reflect more sophisticated wireless networks and frequent texting usage in other parts of the world.
Chinese youth also lead in mobile ringtone downloads and IM, and tie with Russian youth for mobile screensaver downloads.
All Youth Except Russian Look at Price First
Price was the most common consideration in selecting a mobile phone for young people in almost all surveyed countries, although Nielsen data indicates that is true among other age groups, too. Youth aged 15 to 24 put price as the first purchase driver, with the exception of Russian youth, 21% of whom placed design/style first.
In China,form/shape tied price as the primary driver (14%).
Personal Payment of Mobile Charges Increases with Age
Personal payment for mobile charges increases as teens move into young adulthood. Across the countries surveyed, personal payment increases on average 30% once mobile users exit their teen years. Germany and Brazil are tied for the highest percentage of teens who say they pay their own bill, while Italy has the lowest.
The US has the lowest rate of personal payment among ages 20-24, with only 45% of youth in that age bracket paying for their own service.
US Teens Send/Receive 3,700 Monthly Texts
US mobile phone owners age 13-17 send and receive an average of 3,705 texts per month, according to other recent data from The Nielsen Company. This is more than double the next-highest average number of texts sent and received in average month, 1,707, performed by 18-to-24-year-olds.
About the Data: In 2010, The Nielsen Company surveyed mobile consumers in 19 countries.