Teens top for texting but adults email more

5 Mar 2008

Under-18s spend 23pc of time on their mobile phones texting. This figure falls as the user profile gets older: over-65s spend just 1pc of their time texting.

Research in the US by iSuppli also found email was most popular among the 18-24 age group, with these users spending 8pc of their time on mobiles emailing. The 25-39 age group spends 6pc of their time emailing, while under-18s spend 4pc.

ISuppli suggested email represents a more formal style of communicating that utilises more complete sentences, hence its lower take-up rate among teenagers.

Income also affects how mobile phones are used, iSuppli said. “[For emailing] the use of a QWERTY keyboard is very helpful, versus the more informal world of texting. When we look at the data for smart phone users, it is true that emailing features more prominently.”

Brand and price are the main factors for consumers both in the 18-24 and in the 40-44 age groups when deciding on a phone. Younger groups are more influenced by multimedia features such as a camera and styling.

The survey findings suggest that for older adults handsets serve a more utilitarian function of basic communications for work and personal use.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey found that income affected buying patterns. The 31.9pc of US consumers making less than US$25,000 per year named price as their top buying criteria, while only 14.8pc of those earning more than US$200,000 named price as a top buying criteria.

“Consumer preferences for mobile handsets vary widely and are heavily influenced by demographic factors, particularly age and income,” said Greg Sheppard, chief development officer, iSuppli. “As handsets and their users become increasingly sophisticated, these consumer preferences are emerging as a paramount consideration for companies attempting to address the market.

“Mobile phone makers and wireless operators that can successfully gauge and capitalise on user preferences are likely to be the most successful players in the future mobile handset market.”

The findings come from iSuppli’s monthly consumer survey.

By Niall Byrne