The Fickle Nature of the Mobile Canadian Teen

Recent Ipsos Mobil-ology Study Shows Canadian Teenagers More Eager to Change, Adapt than Adult Counterparts

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Toronto, ON – When it comes to their relationship with Smartphones, Teens have a shorter honeymoon phase than Adults do. The spring 2012 wave of Ipsos Reid’s Mobil-ology, a study of the mobile market in Canada, shows that while Teenagers have handsets that are typically newer than Adults (10 months old vs. 13 months old among Adult Canadians), they are more inclined to express a desire to switch their brand of device within the next 6 months (16% vs. 12% top-3-box on a 7-point likelihood scale – though minimal in appearance, this is a significant difference).

“Teens are simply more fickle. They have more of a ‘love-‘em-and-leave-‘em’ attitude when it comes to their Smartphones, craving the freshest trend and the latest brand,” says Mary Beth Barbour, Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid. “Even if their device is newer, they are still more inclined to want to switch or upgrade than their Adult contemporaries.”

The Mobil-ology study shows that this experimental nature extends beyond just the brand of handsets.

Use of Apps among Adult and Teen users is equally common, with approximately four-in-five (77% of Adults and 79% of Teens) stating that they have downloaded and used an App on their device. But the two groups differ when it comes to the frequency at which they download new and delete previously downloaded Apps. Notable declines in these behaviours were noted among Adult Smartphone users, however, over the same six month period, the same was not evident among Teens. Barbour adds, “Teens use of iPhones and devices operating on the Android operating system has increased over the previous six months, and both of these have a reputation for offering a richer and wider selection of Apps relative to BlackBerry devices. This may be a factor contributing to high and stable frequencies of these behaviours among Teens. However, at the same time, Teens may simply be more inquisitive and exploratory by nature.”

“It is also interesting to note that while Canadian Teens report a preference for accessing content on their devices via App rather than the web (41% vs. 25%), this bias towards Apps is even more exaggerated among Adults (47% vs. 19%),” adds Barbour. “As a result, it is particularly important for marketing campaigns targeting mobile Teens to be aware of all access points.”

These findings are based on two waves of research (the first in February 2011 and the second in March/April 2012). Each of these studies were conducted among approximately n=1,500 Adult Smartphone users and n=500 Teen Smartphone users in Canada via the Ipsos Opinions Online Panel, one of Ipsos Reid's national online panels. The results are based on a sample where weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual online Canadian population according to Census data. A survey with an unweighted probability for the base sizes mentioned above and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-2% percentage points and +/-4% percentage points, respectively speaking. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mary Beth Barbour
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

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The Fickle Nature of the Mobile Canadian Teen


Mary Beth Barbour
Senior Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Marketing