Teen Tech Use Shapes Consumer Behavior

January 22, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Media & Entertainment | Retail & E-Commerce | Technology | Telecom | Youth & Gen X

Though today’s teens face many of the same issues as they did 15 years ago in terms of economic challenges and family life, their unprecedented access to and use of technology is making them increasingly self reliant, and is shaping their consumer behavior in new ways, according to research from Experian Simmons.

Simmons’ Teens Study finds that teens still spend money on essentially the same types of products as they did in the early 1990s: Music, clothes, video games and electronics. However, a high comfort level with technology, foregone expectations for instantaneous communication, and heavy participation in the online arena is transforming these products in important ways that are important for marketers to understand, Experian Simmons said.

Following are several key findings about America’s teens.

Teens are online:

  • Of online activities teens have done in the last seven days, communications such as email and IM, top the list and are followed by playing/downloading games and music.

  • Education/ research, which likely involves school projects, is sixth on this list.

Teens talk:

  • The cell phone industry has seen rapid growth in cell usage among teens going from one-third ownership in 2003 to two-thirds ownership in 2007.
  • Teens use many different features on their cell phones – especially the camera, internet access, games, and texting.


  • Females and older teens are the dominant users of camera features.
  • Games on wireless devices are more popular among younger teens, but once teens get older – texting with friends becomes most popular.

Teens work:

  • 24% of all Teens work either full or part time and 34% of teens who work earn $100 or more each week, while 40% of working older teens (age 15-17) earn $100 or more each week.
  • The percentage of teens working increases as they age, going from 11% of 12-14 year-olds to 35% of 15-17 year-olds who work.

Teens save:

  • About half of all teens have a bank account, with older teens and female teens slightly ahead of the other groups.


  • Older teens are the group most likely to have an ATM/debit card and a checking account.

Teens spend:

  • Clothing, music and movies are the top three items for spending among teens in general.
  • Males are most likely to buy video games or electronics.


  • Females are more likely to spend their money on clothing, jewelry/accessories and make up, rather than music or movies.

Teens are motivated:

  • More than 80% of teens agree that going to college is important to them.
  • Teens cite careers and having their own family as important, followed closely by good relationships with family and friends.

About the study: Simmons’ Teens Study is a continuously-measured sample of approximately 2,500 US teens between ages 12 and 17.

Explore More Articles.

Marketing Charts Logo

Stay on the cutting edge of marketing.

Sign up for our free newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This