FOMO? Teens Can't Put Down Their Phones - eMarketer

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FOMO? Teens Can't Put Down Their Phones

Smartphones are likely the first big-ticket item they got

May 2, 2017

Teens—a generation that grew up in the era of smartphones—spend a lot of time on them.

During a typical day, teen internet users worldwide spend 3 hours 38 minutes going online via their smartphones—roughly 48 more minutes than the overall average for people ages 16 to 64, according to Q4 2016 data from GlobalWebIndex.

Average Daily Time Spent Online by Teen Internet Users Worldwide, Desktop/Laptop/Tablet vs. Smartphone, Q4 2016 (hrs:mins)

Teens spend more time online via smartphone than other devices—but only by a bit.

For example, GlobalWebIndex found that teen internet users spend roughly 3.5 hours daily accessing the web via desktops, laptops and tablets, which was 25 minutes less than the worldwide average for those devices.

“Given the stereotype of teens and young adults always staring at their phones, it’s a surprise this tipping point wasn’t passed long ago,” said eMarketer analyst Mark Dolliver. “It’s a bit like suddenly seeing an obit for someone you’d assumed was dead 10 years ago.”

“The other surprise is that people in this age bracket apparently spend so much time going online via computer,” he added. “I bet that’s something marketers tend to underestimate when they have a picture of these people in mind.”

A separate survey from Think with Google, conducted by Ipsos, found that teens spend a lot of time watching video on their phones.

Smartphone Activities that US Teen Smartphone Users Spend at Least 3+ Hours on Daily, Aug 2016 (% of respondents)

Roughly seven in 10 respondents said they spend at least three hours per day watching video on a smartphone.

Over half of teens (51%) said they also spend three hours or more on social networks, and another 52% said they do so on messaging apps.

“Part of the appeal of smartphone usage for people this age is that the phone is probably the first big-ticket item that has belonged to them personally,” Dolliver said.

“They’ve used computers—at school and at home and elsewhere—but it has probably been a shared device rather than something that’s just theirs,” he said. “So I think that’s one more reason why they make the most of the smartphone they have.”

Rimma Kats

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