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MP3 Player Ownership Gains Among Kids Under 14: NPD

MP3 players posted the biggest gains in ownership by kids ages 4 to 14 compared to any other portable CE product, including cellphones and digital cameras, The NPD Group found in a survey of 3,200 online households.

Of all CE devices tracked in the company’s Kids and Consumer Electronics IV report, ownership of portable digital music players (PDMPs) by kids ages 4 to 14 increased the most during the past three years. Ownership rates rose to 28 percent of the kids from only 4 percent, NPD found. “PDMP usage has doubled two years in a row, increasing 10 percentage points over the past year, making PDMP’s the strongest growth product in both year-over-year and over time trends,” the company said.

Since 2005, kids’ personal ownership of digital cameras and cellphones also experienced double-digit growth, while ownership rates of devices such as portable CD players experienced double-digit declines during the same period, NPD said in the report. The report takes a look at the adoption rates of CE products by kids, the ages at which kids begin using specific CE products, how they use them, and the frequency of use.

With PDMPs, 88 percent of kids who own one use it primarily as a music playing device, but kids are starting to use them to view video, NPD said. Thirty percent of kids using PDMPs use them to watch some video content.

In cellular, NPD found that 20 percent of kids ages 4 to 14 own their own cellphone, and 13 percent of kids ages 4 to 5 use them. Although communications remains the most important driver of cellphone usage, kids are also using them for such activities as text messaging, taking and sending pictures, and playing games.

In home electronics, the survey found that a higher percentage of kids ages 4 to 14 are using desktop and laptop computers more than they use a TV. A total of 75 percent of kids use a computer at home, but only 70 percent use a TV. Fourteen percent of kids own their own desktop or laptop computer.

“In the three years we’ve been monitoring kids’ interaction with consumer electronics, computers have always played a central role in kids ‘digi-lives,’ serving as a hub for many of their connected activities,” said analyst Anita Frazier. “This most recent study revealed an increase in the use of social-networking sites, which points to the growing attraction kids have for this type of online experience.”

The survey was sent to a sample of NPD’s online panelists who are 23 years of age or older and who have children ages 4 to 14 in the household. Respondents with more than one child in the specified age range were instructed to answer for a randomly selected child. The study is based on 3,179 completed surveys taken between April 7-14.