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Study Finds Cellular’s Oldsmobile Generation

Reston, Va. — Consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 are far more likely to view their cellphone as a tool for more than basic voice communication than adults who are at least 35-years-old, according to a survey of cellphone users by comScore Networks.

When buying cellphones, adults in the 18-24 age group place more importance on phones with cameras, MP3 players, trendiness, messaging capabilities, and ability to be personalized than their older counterparts, said the study of more than 1,700 cellphone-owning Internet users. The survey also found that the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups place a greater priority on messaging capabilities than older folks when selecting a cellular carrier. (See table.)

“While the youngest consumers grew up with the technology, those just a few years older did not, resulting in some pronounced differences in attitudes and behaviors towards cellphone usage across the various user segments,” said senior VP Serge Matta.

Consumers in the 18-24 and 25-35 age groups, comScore said, “are likely to view their cellphones as multidimensional devices,” whereas older groups “tend to have a more functional view.”

People in the 25-35 group, comScore noted, fall into two segments: people who grew up with cellular knowledge, and those who didn’t. For this age group, “cellphones began to infiltrate everyday life during their teen years and early adulthood.” The 18-24 group, on the other hand, “grew up with cellphone awareness, experiencing cellphones as a part of their everyday lives.”

As a result, 42 percent of consumers in the 18-24 group say embedded cameras are of high importance when buying a phone, and 20 percent say MP3 playback is of similar importance. Among the 35+ age group, however, only 30 percent and 8 percent, respectively, call those features important.

comScore tracks the Web-browsing habits of more than 2 million consumers who allow their browsing and transaction behavior to be monitored. comScore panelists also participate in surveys.