Christmas is in the air and people are shopping early to avoid the Christmas rush. It’s stressful enough to pick the right gifts for the right people, but when it comes to finicky teenagers, you can’t go wrong with a smartphone. But why a smartphone, you ask? Here’s a few considerations to help you make a decision on whether or not to indulge the teens in your family with a smartphone this Christmas.
A recent study from Gartner found that teenagers prefer smartphones over cars. This only shows how mobile technology has impacted teens of this generation.
The study shows that 46% of young adults ( ranging from 18-24 years old ) prefer to access the internet rather than their own car. On the other hand, around 15% of the baby-boomer generation said that they choose a mobile device over an automobile.
So, what contributes to this new preference behavior? The trending of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ has been a major factor in how teenagers see their daily activities. These sites enable interactions that aren’t limited by curfews or regulated by parents–social networking has become an ideal platform for communication. Koslowski, the lead automotive analyst at Gartner, describes the iPhone as the Ford Mustang of today.
“Mobile devices, gadgets and the Internet are becoming must-have lifestyle products that convey status,” and devices “offer a degree of freedom and social reach that previously only the automobile offered.” says Thilo Koslowski.
Because of this challenging reality, the automobile industry is slowly integrating the features of a smartphone, such as built-in GPS, Bluetooth and iPod docks, in the latest car models, and will continue to add more features to attract the interest of teenagers and to ensure that automobiles go with the growing trend around mobility.
“We are not looking at this to ask how we can get teens to buy a car versus an iPhone,” says K. Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader of open innovation at Ford.
“Instead, the car has to become more than just a car. It has to become an experience.”
Moreover, a British report demonstrates the full extent of teens hooked on their mobile phones. As a matter of fact, almost 67 percent of teenagers say that confiscating their mobile is the worst form of punishment.
“The mobile phone has become an essential piece of kit for British teenagers, enabling them to keep in touch with friends in all sorts of ways – calls, texts, instant messaging and social networking – so confiscating a teenager’s phone is like getting several punishments all at once.” according to Ben Fritsch, head of propositions at T-Mobile UK.
This big switch in teenage preference means another challenge for the automobile industry.
“The car used to be the signal of adulthood, of freedom,” says Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Co.’s manager of global consumer trends and futuring. “It was the signal into being a grown-up. Now, the signal into adulthood for teenagers is the smartphone.”
At least smartphones are cheaper, and less dangerous than cars (unless you combine the two–then you have some parental worrying to do).