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What the Teens Want, Part XXXVII May 28, 2005

Posted by David Card in Marketing.

Of course, the iPod is the star of this silly, if entertaining NY Times story on teens, gadgets, and style. Aside from the Roper poll, which lines up with Jupiter’s surveys (see for instance mobile and media/Internet and games and music), some of the “market research” in the story seems a bit stretched: “Pretty much everybody has a cellphone, and iPods, probably one out of three people,” said Greg Becker, 15, of Owings Mills, Md.

The Times harrumphs:

    Now the same pestering is reaching a fever pitch among teenagers, who crave an ever-expanding collection of high-tech items they can’t possibly afford…It is a vortex of contemporary social currents: teenagers’ longing outstrips their ability to satisfy it and collides with most parents’ hope to teach restraint and fiscal responsibility.

Contemporary social currents? I guess if “contemporary” means “same as it’s been for the last 125 years.”

And what’s up with quoting a market research teen “employee” as a user, not as a researcher, and running her picture, again, as a user?

    Jen Lang, 17, a high school senior from Erial, N.J., who also works at Buzz Marketing, said: “I used to make fun of my friend. He had a Nokia phone that was so four years ago.”

Disclaimer: my tween niece has an iPod Shuffle, only partly subsidized by parents, but no cellphone. Yet. She wants one pretty desperately.

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