by Mike Mulvihill
As the parent of a 16 and a 23 year-old, I can tell you don’t bother calling the kids on that Family Plan phone you got them. For years, a text has been the quickest, surest way to get in contact with my kids and, according to a new Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project study, I’m not alone.
Pew’s new Teens and Digital Citizenship Survey says that 63 percent of all teens say they exchange text messages every day with people in their lives, including their parents. That’s roughly 8 of every 10 teens that have a cell phone texting daily. And they’re texting a lot. Older teen girls tend to send and receive a whopping median of 100 per day. Though lagging, teen boys are gaining with daily texting activity up 60 percent from 2009. By the way, two-thirds of teen texters say they are more likely to use their cell phones to text their friends than talk to them.
It shouldn’t be surprising that so many teens text their parents daily since teen cell phone ownership highly correlates with income (and likely parental footing of the phone’s cost). More than 90 percent of teens from households earning $75,000 or more have a cell phone, compared with 62 percent from households earning less than $30,000.
Age comes into play as well. About nine of every 10 teens between 14 and 17 years of age have a cell phone, compared to less than 60 percent of 12- to 13-year. As does ethnicity – white teens are most likely to have a cell phone (81 percent), versus 72 percent of black teens and 63 percent of Hispanic teens.
All of which could lead to lead to a conclusion that there is a “texting” divide driven by social privilege emerging in our younger generation.
For marketers, there are a few immediate implications. Among 18 to 34 year olds with cell phones, 42 percent are interested in receiving alerts on their cell phones from places they frequent, slightly more than the still sizeable 33 percent of 35 to 44 year olds. Twenty-six percent of all consumers who use text messaging say they have opted in to receive text message marketing messages.
Ultimately, the survey says…texting is a powerful marketing tool that shouldn’t be overlooked in your next program aimed at teens and younger adults – especially my kids.