Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

Summary: A survey says that 37 percent of teens plan on buying an iPhone in the next six months - but doesn't that mean that 63 percent don't? What will they buy?

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TOPICS: iPhone, Mobility
36

Don't you just love surveys? I love the way questions can be phrased so that the answers can be presented in a way that, well, really skews the message. (Just take a look at my headline.)

Case in point: A Piper-Jaffrey survey released this week found that 17 percent of teenagers surveyed currently own an iPhone and, more importantly, 37 percent say they plan on buying an iPhone in the next six months. Don't get me wrong - those are impressive numbers, especially when you consider that those numbers have grown consistently over the last eight quarters.

But dare I flip these numbers and point out the other metrics? If 17 percent of teens own an iPhone, that means 83 percent don't. Do they own something else - like an Android device? Better yet, if 37 percent of teens say they plan on buying an iPhone in the next six months, doesn't that mean that 63 percent of teens don't plan on buying an iPhone in the next six months?

Forgive me for asking some additional questions, but here goes:

  • How many teens were surveyed?
  • How many of them already own smartphones? What's the breakdown of the other devices?
  • How many of them are planning to buy a smartphone in the next six months? How many plan to buy something other than an iPhone? Can we get a breakdown by device? Or was that question not asked?
  • How many of them don't plan on buying anything at all?

Again, I'm not trying to take anything away from Apple and its relationship with the teen market. But this is hardly a balanced survey. I'd rather see what teens think about smartphones, in general, and the competitive battle between brands.

I have two teenagers in my house - and neither of them have iPhones. Granted, I wasn't about to buy them iPhones - but they haven't asked for them, either. In fact, I can't think of one teenager in their circle of friends who has an iPhone.

True story: I was sitting next to a mom at my daughter's softball game yesterday and she pulled out an iPhone. We had a friendly exchange about smartphones and she mentioned that her 19-year-old daughter had done extensive research on smartphones and decided that she wanted an Android device. Now, her 15-year-old is also asking for an Android - even though Mom carries an iPhone and Dad has a Blackberry. I heard the same story a month ago about the older brother (age 17) of my son's best friend. He saved his own money and bought a Droid 2.

When it comes to surveys, context is everything. I'm not questioning the results of the survey - but isn't kind of irresponsible for news outlets to put up big headlines that scream "Teens love iPhone" when, in fact, more than 80 percent said they don't own one and more than 63 percent said they don't plan on buying one anytime soon? And don't even get me started on how every report I could find on this survey used the exact same chart (included below) to illustrate the point.

I'm just sayin'.

Related: Apple's music, tablet dominance: What the teens say

Topics: iPhone, Mobility

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36 comments
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  • Honestly?

    I have a BlackBerry (like that is such a secret...!) but I would still argue that there is a iPhone/BlackBerry divide - and a tiny middle bit conflicted between the two by budget constraints, ie. they can't afford either.
    zwhittaker
    • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

      @zwhittaker I think another divide is keyboard/no keyboard. A lot of people either don't want a keyboard or it is a requirement. Blackberry phones without keyboards don't tend to do so well... I think because Blackberry buyers *mostly* want the Blackberry keyboard (if we're talking "teens").
      jeremychappell
  • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

    Not mentioned in the survey is that is was taken outside of Google headquarters with hiring managers looking on. ;-)
    brandons
  • duh!! what percentage are not buying a phone at all?

    ...these are teenagers remember..
    doctorSpoc
    • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

      @doctorSpoc

      Welcome to 2011. Teens have more than we had in our generation.
      zeth06
      • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

        @zeth06 having two teens myself, and quite out of context of phone wars, I had to smile to myself at the 37% "planning" to get iPhones... teens plan lots of things, what they tend to actually DO is lie on couch! So don't be surprised if the majority wind up with the same phones they have now, or else hand me down iPhone 4's once the 5 comes out.
        paulhknight
      • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

        @zeth06 I think the point he was trying to make was that most teens don't buy their own phones, their parents do.
        Bucky24
    • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

      @doctorSpoc Which means they absolutely must have a cellphone with unlimited texting or you are RUINING their lives!
      ShadoeKnight
  • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

    Somehow I think teenagers like Android phones more because of the price of apps more than anything else.
    Aerowind
    • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

      @Aerowind that and teens want devices that do as much as possible and android does that for them. And gives them a choice about what they want their phone to look like, who is going to provide the service, and what kind of specs it will have.
      Jimster480
  • "IF" the survey is indeed "Skewed" why

    bother giving it any consideration what so ever? It's like back in the day when companies use to PAY so called independent companies to do surveys/studies for them... Yeah right.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

      Here we have again the Apple stockholder trying to censure anything that questions Apple's superiority on something.
      nomorebs
      • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

        @nomorebs he's a typical fanboy
        Jimster480
  • Neither of my daughters have iPhones

    , both in their 20's and not teens, and for different reasons.<br><br>Daughter 1 bought a Blackberry because she already has an iPod Touch and thought an iPhone would be too similar (plus she owns a MacBook so she has nothing against Apple).<br><br>Daughter 2 is just out of school without a full-time job so had to go for a cheap phone and carrier. Wind is the carrier (no contracts here in Canada) and a "cheap" Android phone (I think it's a Samsung).<br><br>She's had the phone for 2 months and it's gone south twice. First time, phone tech support was able to "reset" it and made it usable. Second time in failed (last week, one symptom is it garbles and mixes up her text messages), tech support couldn't "fix" it so told her to return it for a replacement.<br><br>She does want an iPhone once she's employed and can afford more than the bare-bone basics.<br><br>Some survey choices may be predicated on what the teens can realistically afford vs what they really want.<br><br>(Though some of the males may have fallen for and been sucked in by the Android "macho/sci-fi" marketing.)
    MacCanuck
    • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

      @MacCanuck That's another good point, depending on where you are in the country these numbers could easily have gone for a competitor...

      In New England, my nieces and nephews like Blackberry for some reason and in Florida where I am, it is Android Land as far as phones go but I hear San Francisco is all About the iPhone.
      slickjim
    • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

      @MacCanuck iPhones cost less than high end Androids and you can get a 3gs pretty cheap. Just face it, people are choosing android over ios on the regular. And Idk what android macho marketing your talking about.
      Jimster480
  • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

    it is irrelevant, if they're like my Teenagers were, something else will always be more important and the majority of them will never end up with anything more than the phone their parents give them... Read, not a smart phone unless it is on Metro PCS or something.

    Another note, kids follow trends and if somebody starts showing kids (on youtube) how to hack into their schools mainframe with his Android Phone and Terminal Emulator then before you know it those phones will explode.
    slickjim
  • How times have changed

    Teens have enough money for iPhones? My main concern in the "disposable income" department when I was a teen was affording to keep my old car running and maybe have enough left for a video game or go to the movies. These iPhones are rather expensive compared to getting maybe an iPod touch and a standard prepaid cell phone.
    oncall
    • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

      @oncall they are not overly expensive. I mean the carrier will kill you but the phone itself won't. Also prepaid phones are not realistic for teens who live on their phones.
      Jimster480
  • RE: Skewed survey says: Majority of teens don't want an iPhone

    Curious how many teens could even afford an iphone?
    dfl274