Teens’ Online Time Surges, Exceeds 18-49 Demo

January 22, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Digital | Mobile Phone | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Social Media | Tablet | Teens & Younger | Youth & Gen X

GfK-Daily-Time-Spent-Online-by-Age-Bracket-Jan2014The amount of time teens aged 13-17 are spending online grew by a considerable degree in the space of a year, details GfK in recent survey findings. Results from GfK’s Spring 2013 study indicate that 13-17-year-olds spent an average of 4 hours and 4 minutes per day online, a 37% hike from just under 3 hours per day a year earlier. With that increase, teens shot past the 18-49 age group, whose time online was essentially flat at an average of 3 hours and 11 minutes daily.

As for the 50-64 demo, it appears to be spending a little less time online, down from 2 hours and 50 minutes in the Spring 2012 study to 2 hours and 41 minutes in the 2013 edition.

The sizable increase in teens’ online time owes mostly to their growing time spent accessing the internet from tablets (up 157% year-over-year to more than a half-hour per day), smartphones (up 72% to more than one hour per day) and connected TVs (up 86% to 13 minutes per day). Those average increases may not be driven by heavier use of the devices, but rather broader adoption of them. Separate findings from GfK indicate that smartphone penetration among 13-17-year-olds grew from 35% to 55% in only one year, with tablet penetration doubling from 18% to 37% in the same time frame.

Teens are heavy mobile users, though: a Pew report from early last year found 1 in 4 accessing the internet primarily from a mobile phone.

While teens may be spending more time online, they may not be spending it on Facebook. Since this is almost an unavoidable topic (although probably a bit overwrought), here is the latest on the melodrama:

  • An “extensive European study” on older teens (reported here by the Guardian) came to the conclusion that Facebook is “dead and buried” among this group. Except, as it turns out, there was nothing “extensive” about the study whatsoever, as subsequently reported by various outlets, such as this one.
  • An iStrategyLabs report concluded that 3 million teens left Facebook over 3 years, a gigantic 25.3% decline! Except that as some casual observers pointed out, a sizable chunk of these teens aged into the 18-24 demo, which saw far smaller declines. More likely, newly-minted teens aren’t adopting Facebook to the same extent that they used to.
  • Another study – this time global – from GlobalWebIndex, indicated that Facebook use is down among teens, but not nearly to the extent that the hysteria would have one believe. (Reported here by the WSJ.)

So there it is. Teens might well be using Facebook less, but it’s probably not a mass exodus for the time being. Will Facebook stoke the flames again in its Q4 report?

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