Tweens and Smartphones: To Own is to Love

  1. tweens and smartphones

  • While they’re still not as committed to their phones as teens are, tween’s move away from the tablet and towards the phone is changing their media habits.
  • The phone becomes a kid’s indispensable device almost immediately upon acquiring one.
  • The percentage of tweens who own phones will continue to rise. Once they have one, it soon becomes their favorite device. Knowing this gives you a better chance to meet them where they are.

One way to access the level of enthusiasm generated by mixing tweens and smartphones is to ask them to consider the unimaginable – having ONLY ONE device. To answer that, they have to consider which is most important to their identity right now.

Soon after the introduction of the iPad in 2010, tablets topped the phone as tweens’ preferred mobile device. By 2013, KidSay started to see the smartphone rise with tween girls, as tween boys lagged significantly behind.

Today the smartphone has ascended to the point that it clearly beats the tablet as tweens’ preferred handheld device.

27% of tween boys say their Smartphone is the device they would choose if they could have only one. That is an increase of 36% since 2013. Tween boys choosing tablet (11%) as their only device decreased by 57% since 2013.

For tween girls, 45% say the smartphone would be their one and only device if they had to choose. That represents an increase of 36% since 2013. The decrease in a tablet saw 35% fewer tween girls saying it was the one device they would choose since 2013 – now 20%.

To get a deeper appreciation of the smartphone’s appeal to tweens and teens, let’s take a closer look at how ownership impacts their devotion.

While it will never match teens’ ownership numbers, the percentage of tweens who own smartphones will continue to rise. By late 2017, a majority of tweens will very likely own a smartphone.

Upon ownership, the smartphone soon becomes the device they use the most.

46% of tweens own a Smartphone with 9% of tween boys and 23% of tween girls saying that “iphone/phone” is the ‘next thing’ they are saving their money to buy.

If your business ROI depends on finding and engaging the tweens and teen where they are, understanding their current device usage and where that usage is heading soon is of utmost importance.

Terence Burke

Terence Burke

SVP of Research, Editor-in-Chief KidSay's Trend Tracker at KidSay
Terence Burke is one of America’s leading kid experts. He is co-creator of KidSay’s Trend Tracker, a noted research report that many of the world’s most successful companies rely upon to understand kids and their rapidly-changing world. As the Trend Tracker’s editor-in-chief and principle writer since its inception, Terence has disseminated his kid-market expertise since 1999. The knowledge and insight Terence has acquired in his role as Trend Tracker editor and KidSay’s Senior VP of Research has led to multiple invitations to speak at Nickelodeon, Disney, McDonald’s, Reebok, Build-A-Bear, Activision, Kraft and Hasbro, among others. In addition to his research experience Terence has a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Education. He spent over two decades teaching emotionally handicapped students and, most recently, teaching inner-city youth at DreamYard High School in the Bronx, NY. Terence’s proudest achievements are being a husband to Katherine and a father to Alden, Selby, and Tristan.
Terence Burke
About the Author

Terence Burke

Terence Burke is one of America’s leading kid experts. He is co-creator of KidSay’s Trend Tracker, a noted research report that many of the world’s most successful companies rely upon to understand kids and their rapidly-changing world. As the Trend Tracker’s editor-in-chief and principle writer since its inception, Terence has disseminated his kid-market expertise since 1999. The knowledge and insight Terence has acquired in his role as Trend Tracker editor and KidSay’s Senior VP of Research has led to multiple invitations to speak at Nickelodeon, Disney, McDonald’s, Reebok, Build-A-Bear, Activision, Kraft and Hasbro, among others. In addition to his research experience Terence has a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Education. He spent over two decades teaching emotionally handicapped students and, most recently, teaching inner-city youth at DreamYard High School in the Bronx, NY. Terence’s proudest achievements are being a husband to Katherine and a father to Alden, Selby, and Tristan.