Monday, June 11, 2007

JupiterResearch on Tweens & Cell Phones

Last week, Jupiter Research released the results of a new study on tweens and mobile phones (check out some of the original coverage by anastasia and webpronews), predicting that tweens will be the next big US market for cell phones and mobile technologies. The market research firm believes that "safety" will be the key driving force of this expanding market, as parents purchase mobile phones for their kids in order to enable constant and immediate (remote) contact. According to Jupiter's Research Director, Julie Ask, (cited in the press release)
"Cell phone ownership is extending to ever-younger children as prices drop and carriers look to add subscribers in a market where adult penetration rates are closing in on their long-term maximum. The majority of children with cell phones are on their parents' wireless service plan well into adulthood due to the economics and convenience of adding family members to plans. Wireless service providers have made it an easy decision for parents to add their second graders by allowing family members to share minutes, adding free in-network calling, and offering options that help parents track their children and manage service costs."

With all the new cells for kids and tweens coming out this year and last, Jupiter's prediction is not exactly earth shattering...they're either tapping into some of the same trends uncovered by the children's industries' market researchers, or perhaps discovering the influence these products (and surrounding advertisements) are already exerting on public perception. Either way, they foresee "dramatic" growth in tween's cell phone adoption over the next 12 months.

That said, however, the report also found that "parents are still reluctant to add children younger than 10, believing it's unnecessary." To this, Jupiter Research President David Schatsky replies, "Mobile communications may be gaining wider acceptance, but it's clear there is still a line that consumers, especially parents of younger children, aren't quite ready to cross." For him, the answer lies in parents' different understandings of "safety and security," which appear to vary significantly depending on the age of the child. Schatsky explains, "For older teens, the catalyst may be going away to college for the first time, for younger teens, it may be the convenience of a parent being able to reach the child. Whatever the definition, it is apparent that it is applied differently based on the age of a child."

Very brief summaries of the research are available on the Jupiter site,
here, as is an overview of another report on the predicted growth of infotainment as a mobile feature/industry.

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