Tweens Living Life on Mobile Phones: Study

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Tweens Living Life on Mobile Phones: Study

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - One out of every five tweens (aged 8-12) uses mobile phones for text messaging, presenting a mobile-marketing opportunity for retailers they'll be shopping in over the next 10 years, according to a new study by Progressive Grocer parent The Nielsen Co.

According to "Kids on the Go: Mobile Usage by U.S. Teens and Tweens," an in-depth study on the mobile media and cross media behavior of U.S. tweens, 35 percent own a mobile phone, and 20 percent of these have used text messaging capabilities. Five percent even access the Internet using their mobile devices.

"Tweens use their mobile phones, and media in general, in very unique and important ways," said Jeff Herrmann, v.p. of mobile media for Nielsen Mobile here. "Marketers and media executives need to understand these 'digital natives' as they mature and reshape the way we all think about new and traditional media."

According to Nielsen, while 41 percent of tween mobile Internet users say they do so while commuting (to school, for example) or traveling, that's not the only time they're on; mobile content such as the Internet is also a social medium for this audience, as 26 percent of tween mobile Internet users say they access the Web while at a friend's house, and 17 percent say they do so at social events.

Young mobile users are also turning to their phones for in-home entertainment: 58 percent download or watch TV on their phone while at home, 64 percent download or play music on their phone while at home; and 56 percent of those who access the Internet on their phone do so at home.

The increased time on their mobile devices translates to less time on PCs, according to the study. Tweens spend less time surfing the Internet than their teen counterparts -- 48 percent of U.S. tweens said they spend less than one hour per day online, and when they are online, 70 percent use the Internet for gaming.

Comparatively, 81 percent of U.S. teens say they spend one hour or more per day online, with e-mail being the most pervasive online activity for this age group.

"In addition to the differences between adult and youth media consumers, there's an important gap between the media behaviors of teens and tweens," said Herrmann. "This report, which includes insights from more than 5,500 teens and tweens, dissects how these demographic segments are engaging with mobile and traditional media."

The report comes from Nielsen Mobile and BASES, two services of Nielsen. It combines insights from survey responses of more than 5,500 teens and tweens from the BASES ePanel. Additional data was supplied from Nielsen Mobile's "Bill Panel" of more than 40,000 wireless lines as well as the third-quarter results from Nielsen Mobile's 75,000-person Audience and Behavior panel.

The report, which will be available December 14, provides insights on teen and tween use of specific content brands, genre preferences, overall use of leisure time and demographic profiles.

Nielsen Mobile provides syndicated consumer research to the telecom and mobile media markets. For more information, visit