Teens are mobile-first with social networks at the centre of daily activity

Teenagers can not live without their mobile devices. Many US teens aged 12 to 17 years old are now mobile and digital natives. According to eMarketer estimates a large majority of them are also smartphone owners nurturing their daily digital activities.

The research firm predicts that 78.9% of teenagers in the US will own a smartphone in 2017. That’s even slightly higher than the rate of the US adult population where smartphone penetration is expected at around 77.1%.

However, Millennials are still trumping both age groups when it comes to device ownership.

eMarketer predictions are similar to those from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research which found 89% of 13 to 17 year-olds to be smartphone owners in the US. Overall, there is a tendency for older teens to own a smartphone compared to younger ones.

At the same time, however, older smartphone devices are being passed to teens as hand-me-downs from their parents resulting in a decline in smartphone-starting-age.

The average respondent in a Think With Google poll was 12 years old when they got their first smartphone.

Smartphones then quickly become part of the daily routine as almost four in 10 teens said they could not make it through the day without their devices according to a YouGov survey in May 2017.

Indeed, cameras and social media interactions on Snapchat and Instagram are central to teens daily smart device activities. Facebook does not appear to be all that relevant to the age group anymore as a recent eMarketer report suggests.

The research firm estimates that around 71% of teens in the US use social networks at least once a month in 2017.

Similarly, Deloitte found that 93% of 14 to 19 year-olds in the US identified with being social network users.