Kids Have Opinions About Smartphones; Tablets, Too

Although they’re not generally the target consumer for high-end electronics, kids are using smartphones and tablets in increasing numbers and are showing a clear preference among brands.

According to advertising consultancy Communicus, one-third of American pre-kindergarten-age children have a tablet specifically used by them, while two-thirds of kids regularly use tablets. Among those that don’t have tablets, 50% ask their parents to buy them one. 

“It’s certainly an opportunity area” for device manufacturers, Jeri Smith, president and CEO of Communicus, tells Marketing Daily. “[Kids] don’t dictate the brand, but they can use the ‘pester factor’ to get what they want.”



The pester effect also extends into smartphones. Eighteen percent of pre-K kids say they ask their parents for a smartphone — and among kids who already have a cellular phone or smartphone, more than three-quarters (78%) ask their parents for an upgrade. 

Apple is the preferred brand for kids and teens. According to the survey of more than 2,000 adults and 1,400 kids, more than half of tweens and teens specifically ask for iPhones, as do 43% of pre-K kids. Only a quarter of the kids ask for Samsung smartphones. 

Samsung, Smith says, simply hasn’t tapped into the “cool factor” that Apple has — and as a result, they’re not attracting kids’ attention. “They have not tapped into the kids market to become the brand kids want,” she says. “As Samsung is trying to edge Apple out, they may want to focus on kids.”

Much of that focus should also be geared toward smartphone sales, Smith says. Interest in tablets drops off sharply after the tween years, as teens have access to their own smartphones and use them in all of the ways they might have previously used a tablet, she says. 

“Tablets have a challenge ahead, particularly as the smartphone screen grows bigger,” Smith says. “They’re still a nice device for [younger] kids because the screen is easier to navigate. But beyond that, it’s going to be difficult [to get attention].”

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