Label Networks’ Fall Youth Culture Study 2009–Electronics by Age Chart

One of the most telling results within the Digital Lifestyle section of Label Networks’ Fall Youth Culture Study 2009 comes with the results in which electronics mean the most within specific demographics.

In this story, we reveal the results to the question, “Which electronic device can you not live without?” Among thousands of 13-25-year-olds across North America, Cell phones continues to be the top electronic device that youth culture cannot live without ranking #1 at 37.1%. This is because to youth culture today, their cell phones often act as their computer and/or main form of communication, getting information, updating their profiles, and finding things in general. Basically, there’s an entirely new generation that’s skipping right over using computers in general, and like youth culture in Japan, they are simply using their cell phones for most internet activities, including the increase in shopping via mcommerce and listening to music via cell phones.

Text messaging (via cell phones) has also spawned an entirely new language for communication using emoticons, grammatical symbols, and shortened letters to indicate meaning. This has since morphed yet again with Twittering and the various “@” symbol and hashtag languages. You can see this also cropping up in text and tweet graphics on merch T-shirts, plus accessories such as buttons/pins, MySpace pages, blogs, and in general email communication patterns. Many young people also wear clothing that’s cell-phone-compatible such as discrete pockets that fit their phone, backpack cell phone pockets, and side pockets in denim jeans, skirts, dresses, and outerwear (see Fashion section). In addition, cell phone charms, mini-stickers, colors, branded phones, crystals, limited editions, wallpaper by graffiti artists, and cell phone cases (i.e., by Incase) are also an important part of accessorizing in general among this audience. Cell phone culture is another example of electronics/technology crossing over into fashion, as well as fusing music (ring-tones and listening to music), entertainment (gaming), and generating one’s own news (snapping pics and sending).

However in many cases, particularly among 13-14-year-olds who are on the cusp of getting their first cell phone, young people are limited in choices because their parents often pay for their services and the phone itself. It should also be noted that among many 18-25-year-olds, one’s cell phone is their only phone as landline phones continue to be of little importance to this new generation.

Cell phones are then followed by iPod at 31.1% which has increased as more young people now are buying and owning iPods. This also points to the significance of listening to music via a portable device. This then drops to Computer at 20.6%, followed by Mp3 Player at 5.5%, Digital Camera at 2% tied with Video Gaming Console, and then Television which ranks very low now at only 1.2%.

By gender, Cell phone is high for both, but slightly higher among females at 38.7% compared with 35.2% of males. iPod is also higher among females at 32.6% compared with 29.4% of males, whereas Computer is higher among males at 21.4% compared with 19.9% of females.

By age groups, Cell phone is high across the board, but increases the older the age demographic, indicating that now an entirely new generation of consumers have come in and grown up with using their cell phone which makes it their most valued electronic. Younger demographics, such as 13-14-year-olds and then 15-17 rank iPod as #1 indicating the importance of this device and music in terms of their electronic purchasing habits. Interesting to note overall is that TV continues to decrease over the years as the most important electronic, and again, remains highest now only among the oldest demographics, as other electronics are clearly of more importance to this generation than ever before.

For more information about the North American Youth Culture Fall Study 2009, email; (323) 630-4000.