US Teens and Their Smartphones: The All-Purpose Device for Liking, Snapping, Ad Avoiding, Shopping and More - eMarketer
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US Teens and Their Smartphones: The All-Purpose Device for Liking, Snapping, Ad Avoiding, Shopping and More

eMarketer Report

By: eMarketer

Published: August 30, 2017

Jump to: Executive Summary | Table of Contents | List of Charts

Executive Summary

Today’s teens are coming of age in an era when smartphone usage pervades daily life. Thus, one cannot understand teens without grasping how smartphones define the ways they get entertainment, communicate with each other, engage marketers and so on.

  • A majority of teens now have a smartphone. Many declare they could not go more than a single day without using it. Serving multiple purposes beyond communication, it fills hours of their day. For instance, seven in 10 US teen smartphone users spend at least 3 hours a day viewing digital video on it.
  • The smartphone camera has become central to teens’ social interaction, as reflected in the rise of camera-centric platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Teens have not abandoned Facebook, but the time and emotional energy they spend on it has declined. And Facebook penetration among US teens is on a slightly downward trajectory.
  • Teens’ social interaction is now dispersed across a wide range of channels. Messaging apps have become important as teens assemble their own social networks. Kik has garnered a sizable teen following, as has WhatsApp. Some social platforms buzzed about as teen favorites (like Musical.ly) display staying power, while others (like Yik Yak) have faded away.
  • A majority of US teens buy digitally, and about half within that majority buy via smartphone. They also use their phones in-store to read product reviews and compare prices. The camera comes into play as teens send photos of possible purchases to friends to solicit opinions. In-store Wi-Fi is thus a desirable feature for many.
  • Teens see more ads on mobile devices than elsewhere. But they tend to be disengaged with what they encounter. The problem is less with mobile in particular than with advertising in general, though some teens are more indulgent toward ads on YouTube.

"One sign of the smartphone’s importance for teens: Over half of US internet users ages 13 to 17 feel they could not get through more than a single day without it."

Table of Contents

Teens as Mobile Natives

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Basics of How Many and How Much

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Constantly Communicating

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The Smartphone’s Role in Teen Shopping

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25 charts are included in the full report:

US Teens and Their Smartphones: The All-Purpose Device for Liking, Snapping, Ad Avoiding, Shopping and More

Length of Time that US Teen Internet Users Think They Could Go Without Their Smartphone, by Gender, May 2017 (% of respondents)

Basics of How Many and How Much

US Smartphone User Penetration, by Age, 2016-2021 (% of population in each group)

Devices Used by US Teens, Dec 2016 (% of respondents)

Length of Time that US Teen Internet Users Think They Could Go Without Their Smartphone, by Gender, May 2017 (% of respondents)

Activities Conducted by US Connected TV* Users While Watching TV, by Age, March 2017 (% of respondents in each group)

Platforms on Which US Teen Internet Users Have Been Cyberbullied, July 2017 (% of respondents)

Weekly Time Spent with Select Media/Devices Among US Children and Teens, by Age, Q1 2017 (hrs:mins)

Constantly Communicating

US Social Network User Penetration, by Age, 2016-2021 (% of population in each group)

Select Social Media Platforms on Which US Social Media Users Have Accounts, by Age, May 2017 (% of respondents in each group)

Digital/Social Platforms Used by US Teen and Young Adult Internet Users, March 2017 (% of respondents)

Messaging Apps Used by US Teens, Dec 2016 (% of respondents)

Teens’ Primary Smartphone-Plus-Social Venues

US Teens' Preferred Social Media Platform, Spring 2015-Spring 2017 (% of respondents)

Social Media Platforms US Teen Internet Users Access Daily, Jan 2017 (% of respondents)

Frequency with Which US Teens Use Select Social Media Platforms, Dec 2016 (% of respondents)

US Daily Social Media Users, by Platform, Nov 2014-Nov 2016 (% of monthly active users)

Change/Expected Change in Time Spent Using Snapchat over the Past Year vs. Next Year According to US Snapchat Users, by Age, May 2017 (% of respondents)

The Smartphone’s Role in Teen Shopping

Likelihood that Internet Users in North America Would Use a Store's* App to Pay In-Store, by Age, March 2017 (% of respondents)

Ways in Which US Teen/Young Adult vs. Total Smartphone Users Use Their Smartphone When Shopping In-Store, Feb 2017 (% of respondents in each group)

Digital/Social Platforms Used by US Teen and Young Adult Internet Users, by Reason for Using, March 2017 (% of respondents)

Taking a Dim View of Ads, Mobile or Otherwise

US Young Adult Internet Users' Attitudes Toward Advertising, Sep 2016 (% of respondents)

Preferred Types of Digital Ads According to US Internet Users, by Age, Oct 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Extent to Which US Teen Internet Users Find Ads Trustworthy, by Gender, May 2017 (% of respondents)

Ways in Which US Instagram Users Have Engaged with Instagram Ads, by Age, Nov 2014-Nov 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

US Ad Blocking User Penetration, by Age, 2014-2018 (% of internet users)