Survey: How Age Affects Cellphone Preferences

Publish date:

 Alpharetta, Ga. -  Cellphones aren't replacing separate MP3 players, portable navigation devices (PNDs) or digital cameras.

But younger consumers ages 13 to 17 are more likely than their elders to use their cellphones cross-functionally, potentially leading to more cellphone competition with these dedicated devices in the long term, a MarketSource survey found.

MarketSource, a market research company and provider of integrated sales and market services, conducted the nationwide online survey exclusively for TWICE. The company compiled responses from adults in 505 households, yielding a sample size considered statistically robust to provide a significance level of +5 at a 95 percent confidence level, MarketSource said. Respondents had to be cellphone subscribers and be at least 18 years of age.

In the 505 surveyed households, MarketSource also interviewed 100 13- to 17-year-olds.

"Generation Y [teens and tweens] is more likely to have higher expectations than adults from their cellular devices and also utilize them more cross-functionally as an MP3 player or digital camera, for instance," MarketSource said. "Generation X and Y are also more apt to turn over mobile devices not so much out of necessity but more so due to new features and product offerings," MarketSource also found.

Although many adult respondents own a separate MP3 player, PND or digital camera separate from their cellphone, the company said, younger consumers consider MP3 playback, high-resolution cameras and GPS capability as more important features in their next phone than adults do. (See Table 1.)

Sixty-six percent of 13- to 17-year-olds consider MP3 playback an important feature in their next cellphone purchase, compared with 27 percent of adults. Sixty-eight percent of the younger set consider a high-resolution camera an important feature in their next cellphone, while 34 percent of adults do. GPS is an important feature for 33 percent of the 17-and-under crowd, while 28 percent of adults think so.

Sixty percent of adults, in contrast, consider battery life an important factor in their next cellphone purchase, compared with 27 percent of the younger crowd.

Although their priorities are different, adults still use their cellphones in great numbers to listen to music, take pictures, and navigate. Nonetheless, adults also overwhelmingly use dedicated devices for those purposes, in large part because the use cases for dedicated devices differs from the use cases for cellphones that incorporate those capabilities, MarketSource found.

Phone owners who own a separate MP3 player, for instance, tend to use their dedicated MP3 player rather than their cellphone to watch video when they're mobile, presumably because of screen size and screen resolution, the survey found. On average, adult consumers who own MP3 players and cellphones and watch video when mobile will watch video 74 percent of the time on their MP3 player and only 26 percent of the time on their cellphone.

In contrast, adult phone owners who own a separate MP3 player listen to music on their cellphone proportionately more than they watch video on their cellphone. On average, 60 percent of their mobile music listening is done on a cellphone compared with 40 percent on an MP3 player.

Of the surveyed phone-owning adults, 72 percent own both a separate MP3 player and an MP3-playing cellphone, while 28 percent said they use a cellphone as their only MP3 player and chose not to buy a dedicated MP3 player because of their cellphone's MP3 capabilities.

Only 24 percent of phone-owning adults own both a PND and a navigation-capable cellphone, but different use cases between the two types of devices also emerge, MarketSource found. Among the 24 percent, the PND tends to remain in the car, and GPS-equipped cellphones tend to be used for navigation purposes when the user is on foot, MarketSource found. These consumers use their phone's GPS feature seven times a month on average while using their PND 22 times per month on average.

When it comes to cross-ownership of digital cameras and camera phones, the survey found that 64 percent of adult cellphone owners own both a dedicated digital camera and a camera-equipped cellphone. Only 20 percent of adult cellphone owners chose not to buy a digital camera because they believe their cellphone camera is adequate for their needs.

Consumers who own both a cameraphone and a dedicated digital camera prefer to use their digital camera to take pictures, particularly at planned events such as family events and vacations, because of better picture quality and other reasons, MarketSource found.

To take pictures of family events, 56 percent of adult owners of both types of devices said they used their dedicated camera most of the time, and only 5 percent said they used their cameraphone most of the time to take pictures of family events. (See Table 2.)

Sixty-five percent used their dedicated camera to take vacation pictures most of the time, while only 5 percent used a cameraphone to take vacation pictures most of the time.

Among adult owners of both types of devices, 74 percent cite picture quality as a reason for their preference to use a dedicated camera to take most of their pictures. Fifty-five percent cited their cameraphone's lack of quality flash; 53 percent cited the lack of zoom capability; 43 percent cited a lack of control over such functions as shutter speed and aperture, and 39 percent cited less available memory. (See Table 3.)


Related Articles