THE TEEN TRANSITION: ADOLESCENTS OF TODAY, ADULTS OF TOMORROW – ThnXz @Nielsen


Young adults are a crucial segment for businesses and advertisers. As the 18-24-year-old demographic expands faster than any other young age group, so does its viewing and purchasing power. Today’s 17-year-olds will play a significant role in the young adult segment of the future, which is why it’s crucial to get to know them now in order to better understand who they’ll be tomorrow.

WHO ARE TODAY’S TEENS?

Today’s teens and young adults are quite the multicultural bunch—with purchasing power to boot. In fact, the 12-17, 18-24 and 25-34 groups are almost identically multicultural, as 42 percent of each comprises Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans. This is only the tip of the iceberg—U.S. Census data shows that African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics will generate the vast majority of the U.S. population growth over the next few decades.

Teens have serious purchase potential. In 2012, 29 percent of U.S. teens lived in high-income homes ($100k+), while only 25 percent of young adults lived in households within this same income bracket. There were also more teen households with middle incomes ($30k-$100k) than those of young adults. Finally, fewer teens lived in lower-income homes ($30k) than their slightly older counterparts.

DEVICE OWNERSHIP DETERMINES VIEWING

Within teen households, smartphones and tablets are growing faster than any other device. From Q4 2011 to Q4 2012, smartphone penetration increased by 45 percent among teens, 32 percent among adults 18-24 and 22 percent among adults 25-34.

Laptop penetration increases as teens age into young adulthood, but begins to decline when young adults enter their late 20s. Laptop penetration is highest among young adults, but all three age groups (12-17, 18-24, 25-34) have increased their laptop ownership over the past year.

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Though young adults view most content on television, they are increasing their video watching
on other devices. According to Nielsen’s Fourth-Quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report, all
consumers under the age of 34 increased their video consumption via mobile and the Internet
from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012.

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While everyone under 34 is spending less time in front of the TV, viewing preferences aren’t
consistent across the 12-17, 18-24 and 25-34 year old groups. For example, teens like to
watch on mobile more than anyone else. In fact, they watched 18 percent more video on their
mobile phones than persons 18-24 and 46 percent more than persons 25-34, in Q4 2012.
While teens are watching more content on mobile devices, they watch less video online than
young adults. In fact, persons 18-24 spent almost 3 times more time watching video on the
Internet than teens 12-17 in Q4 2012.
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