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Summary:

As if you couldn’t already tell by the sheer number of white earbuds you see slouching youths with backpacks and baby mustaches wearing, iPods are popular with the teen crowd. Very popular, according to a recent survey of teen consumer spending by investment banking firm Piper […]

ipodclassicAs if you couldn’t already tell by the sheer number of white earbuds you see slouching youths with backpacks and baby mustaches wearing, iPods are popular with the teen crowd. Very popular, according to a recent survey of teen consumer spending by investment banking firm Piper Jaffray. The survey, the results of which were reported by AppleInsider, found that Apple was actually nearing the saturation point with its survey respondent sample, which, if true, is both good and bad news for Cupertino.

Of the students surveyed, 92 percent reported that they did in fact own a portable media player, and of those, 86 percent own some variety of iPod. Contrast that with Zune owners, who represent a whopping 4 percent of those who took part in the survey. Or at least, 4 percent admitted to owning Zunes. I’m willing to bet some of that 86 percent have had Zunes foisted upon them by misguided parents, so they just say they have an iPod to avoid the social stigma.

This is good news because it means that the iPod is by far the most popular brand among teens, which is a crucial demographic for electronics manufacturers. It’s bad news because it means Apple may be close to reaching the saturation point with the market, which could negatively affect sales. The key to taking advantage of their overwhelming lead among teens is to translate iPod sales now into iPhone sales later, and the iPod touch is the cornerstone of their ability to do so. Introducing enticing new features like a camera and Bluetooth might be enough incentive to convince teens it’s time for an upgrade.

iTunes users also rose, with 97 percent of teens surveyed using Apple’s digital music download service and 82 percent of those who buy music online through legit channels. Of course, that number is pre-variable pricing structure, so it’ll be interesting to see if the recent price hikes change things in the next installment of the bi-annual survey.

The worst news in the survey came in the area of iPhones, where teen owners remained at 8 percent, the same as last time the survey was conducted. Intent to buy actually dropped from 22 to only 16 percent, with Piper Jaffray speculating that the lack of interest has to do primarily with AT&T’s pricing for cellular plans. It probably will remain a market where Apple has trouble until they can offer a device not tied to a data plan or strong-arm AT&T into introducing far more reasonable data subscription prices. It’s hard to imagine they won’t try to capitalize on the growth potential represented by their iPhone numbers among teens, especially with their selling opportunities with iPods dwindling, at least for the short term.

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  1. Like my sister, she’s so stupid she thought “ipod” meant “mp3 player”. Kind of like when people say “Xerox” instad of “photocopier”. My Dad gave some POS Panasonic thingy for her birthday and she goes around telling people about her “ipod”. I had to nip that one in the bud.

  2. I have a zune, was hoping one day to sare songs with folks….

    I gave up in 2007!

    Am going to buy an ipod now, not to be cool but to connect with everything out there that I wnt and Zune cannot get.

  3. elmoscacojonera Monday, April 13, 2009

    If it weren’t for AT&T, I would be on my second iPhone by now. As it is, I have an LG Dare and I pay a comparatively reasonable amount to Verizon. The rumored new iPhone this summer might be enough to win me over, but would would really do it is another network carrying it.

  4. Percentage of teens planning on purchasing a Zune in the next 12 months:
    Fall 08 – 15%
    Spring 09 – 0%

  5. I think the real story here is what this could mean in the long term. There can be no doubt that Apple is seen as cool, and that will likely be a benefit as these teens start to make their own purchasing decisions. There is a good chance many of these teens will look first to Apple for phones and/or computers.

  6. Zero… hahaha… Zero. Thats pathetic.

  7. Here in the NW Verizon sucks. I was glad when Apple signed on with AT&T. Looking forward to the 3.0 software!

  8. Partners in Grime Monday, April 13, 2009

    Doesn’t get much higher than 100%.

  9. Honestly, I own a zune and I couldn’t be happier. Unlimited songs for only 15 bucks a month? I’m sold! Yet, I feel kinda left out when everyone shows up with a new ipod and no one else has a zune. I wish Microsoft would do a better job of advertising so more people would buy zunes.

  10. I think it’s really funny how true this is.
    I just received an iPod Touch for my fifteenth birthday and I know nobody–not one measly teenager–who owns a zune. They’re unattractive to us, while iPods are sleek, easy to use, fun, and, well, sexy. At least, loads sexier than the puke green Microsoft Zune.

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