"We believe that despite the push from competitive products, particularly from Samsung, it appears Apple has solidly remained the platform of choice for teens," wrote Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster.
Being in High School (although only for another month, thankfully), I feel I may be able to offer some uncommon insight on this subject.
- 48% of teens already own an iPhone, compared with 40% last fall
- 62% of teens plan on making an iPhone their next mobile device (flat vs. fall 2012)
- 23% expect to buy an Android phone, up from from 22% last fall
(The only other two digit percentage comes from the "don't care" category. Windows and Blackberry Phones are both in the bottom 5%)
Despite some doubt about this study due to it being unearthed that Apple has been an investment banking client of Piper Jaffray, everything I see at my own school, a typical middle class public high school, confirms it.
Here at CDO High School in Tucson, Arizona, iPhones are everywhere. I wouldn't be surprised if iPhones were represented at an even higher percentage than the 48% shown in the study. iPhones are most definitely considered the "cool" option, and I see kids with them from every group of people in the school. Moreover, there is no sign of iPhone growth slowing any time soon, as the social pressures inherent in any high school ecosystem have taken Apple's side, and iPhones are being pushed on non-iPhone users by other kids all around the school. It hasn't gotten to the point where not having an iPhone is a black mark upon you, but it certainly seems to be an indicator of status. Kids with iPhones seem to find every excuse to have them in sight at all times. iPhones are constantly laying in the open on desks or being held in hands, even while not in use, yet I notice non-iPhone owners are much less prone to flaunting their devices in a similar manner.
Discussions I've overheard or participated in with others on the subject provide a variety of reasons teens want to get their hands on iPhone more than any others. A common assertion is that iPhones, and Apple products in general, are the gadgets of choice in many universities, and students don't want to be stuck using a different device. Another popular idea is the obvious one, that everyone else in the school has an iPhone and people don't want to be left out. Many of those I know who own older model phones running operating systems other than iOS complain constantly about how slow and old they are, and discuss how eager they are for their contracts to expire so they too can join the leagues of iPhone owners. There are, of course, those who speak out against iPhones, but they are a minority overall in the school.
Overall, Apple has simply done an amazing job at entrenching themselves in the minds and hearts of teenagers. Despite the results of any studies or articles saying otherwise, I can easily assert that the demand for iPhones from the teenage audience is in no way waning. In fact, more teens seem to want iPhones than ever before. Certainly there is still a presence of Android owners, which while clearly not as large as the number of students with iPhones, is still a competitive force, but the loyalty of this presence to its chosen operating system seems to be shrinking much faster than it's growing. Android isn't in any danger of extinction in this high school's population, but the dominance of the iPhone is blatantly obvious. Apple would have to have a massive blunder to change the direction the iPhone's popularity with teens is heading. In the mean time, Piper Jaffray's study stands true.