NPD: Child Usage of Consumer Electronics Continues to Rise9 Jun, 2009 By: John Latchem
The NPD Group’s “Kids & Consumer Electronics Vol. 5,” released June 9, indicates not only that the use of consumer electronic devices among children is rising, but that a gender gap may be developing as it relates to which devices are being used. According to the report, girls are more likely than boys to use cell phones and laptop computers, while kids of all ages and genders are using cell phones less as a verbal communication device, opting for texting and sending photos.
Text messaging among kids has grown in the past five years, and in 2009, 46% of kids using cell phones are texting.
The report covers children ages 4 to 14 and was conducted via an online survey of 3,212 adults 23 and older whose children used at least one device measured in the study.
Televisions and computers remained the top two devices used by kids, but there was a shift from standard TVs to HDTVs, and from desktop computers to laptops. This transition is mostly a function of which devices are in the house, though increased levels of kids who have their own laptop suggests parents are buying those devices specifically for the child’s use.
Kids’ usage of devices, such as personal digital music players, laptops, digital cameras and cell phones is growing at impressive rates, according to NPD. For example 37% of kids are using a digital music player this year, while only 6% used one in 2005.
“The increase in usage of portable devices opens up more opportunity to distribute digital content,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst for The NPD Group. “We know from our 2008 report that kids’ acquisition of digital content has increased across the board in the past year, particularly for digital music, TV shows, music videos and online video clips. The marketplace has room to grow high-definition TV content for kids and digital music offerings for preschool-age kids.”
Households with kids ages 4 to 14 own an average of 11 of the measured devices, with one-third of parents planning to buy a CE device for their child in the coming year. On average, younger children will receive educational learning toys, while older kids will get cell phones and digital cameras.
More than one-third of kids (37%) who use a portable gaming device have their own, and 30% of kids who use a digital music player have their own. Of those who have their own, nine in 10 acquired these devices brand new. One in four kids (26%) have their own console video game system.
“The activity which drives two of the three most-used consumer electronics devices, computers and video game console systems, is gaming,” Frazier said. “Playing games is an activity that kids enjoy across most of these devices, so it’s likely one of the activities driving personal ownership among kids.”