Apple is still the coolest kid on the block in the eyes of teens

Fri, Oct 9, 2009


It’s a bit cliche at this point, but Apple products have an aura of “cool” about them that most other companies simply lack, despite millions upon millions of dollars in market research and product development.  Apple hasn’t always been the coolest kid on the block, but since the iPod hit the scene in 2001, it’s been getting all the girls and scoring all the game winning touchdowns.

And 8 years later, Apple’s cachet of cool remains, and is arguably stronger than ever, as evidenced by a recent, though admittedly unscientific, survey conducted by research firm Piper Jaffray.

Some of the more interesting tidbits revealed in the survey completed by 600 teenagers include the following:

– 22% of surveyed students plan on purchasing an iPhone sometime in the next 6 months

– 15% of surveyed students already own an iPhone, a figure which is nearly double from the 8% figure observed by Piper Jaffray just 6 months earlier

– You simply can’t escape the iPod, with over 87% of students owning at least one of Apple’s iconic devices

Piper Jaffray believes that the significant increase in iPhone ownership among teens is largely attributed to the iPhone 3G’s affordable $99 price point.

We believe the $99 iPhone 3G has been a meaningful part of share gains in the last six months. Previously, teens were indicating that the plan pricing and handset pricing were too high for them (and their parents) to buy iPhones. The lower pricing appears to have been a catalyst for share gains. Also, the popularity of the App Store and the quality of games available for the iPhone have likely led to the gains among the teen demographic in recent months.

Click on the charts below for a larger image:

Note how the number of students with iPods has incrementally increased over the past 2 years by 5%.  Microsoft’s Zune, meanwhile, continues to hover in the 3% range while offerings from Dell, Sandisk, and Creative have all lost significant percentage points.

Piper Jaffray’s report concludes: “We believe that the teen demographic is a critical component of long-term growth in the digital music and mobile markets,” Munster said, “and Apple is taking its leading position in music and mobile markets.”

In a very real sense, teenagers are the most important early adopters to the extent that if your product is rock solid, you’ve acquired a customer with a loyalty to the brand at a relatively young age.  It reasons that a 15 year old who owns an iPhone and appreciates Apple’s attention to detail and an easy to use UI is much more likely to purchase a MacBook upon entering college than a 15 year old who could care less about the iPhone.

Notably, the surveyed students came from middle-class and upper middle-class backgrounds, an important fact to consider given Apple’s high prices relative to other similarly situated products.



2 Comments For This Post

  1. Constable Odo Says:

    Only Steve Ballmer sycophants would want to be caught carrying some WinMo phone or Zune HD. I never knew too many teenagers growing up that wanted to be associated with cheap or being uncool. This must have all come about in the recession where being cheap and second-rate is fashionable. I think most teens would be happier owning an Apple product especially if they live near an Apple Retail Store where they can get help with the product if they need it or training on their computers or just being able to hang out and listen to all the other Apple owners. There is sort of a brotherhood going on in the Apple stores. They’re comfortable being there.

    I guess Microsoft is going to try to get their brotherhood of Evil Windows Users going on in their retail stores shortly. That should be a very diverse crowd if there is a crowd at all. Well if they’re not cool enough for Apple, they can still be cool enough for Dell and Acer. Huh?

  2. SourcePLZ Says:

    where’s the survey source? link?

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