Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Marketing to the right audience on iPhone and iTouch

As the market for smartphones in general increases (they account for over 10% of mobile phone sales, up 12.7% in Q1 2009 compared to growth of 9.4% for standard phones, according to Gartner), and the segment captured by iPhone in particular increases (now accounting for close to 11% of overall smartphone sales as opposed to close to 6% a year earlier), it is useful to take a closer look at the new demographics of an iPhone user.

According to statistics for the US released by AdMob for the first 5 months of 2009, only 26% of iPhone owners are below the age of 24 (see chart pictured courtesy of AdMob).

That means that if you are targeting the youth segment (or 'Digital Natives') the iPhone may not be the best option for you. In contrast, iTouch users have a considerably younger age profile, with over 70% being under 24. While the device itself carries its limitations (you need a Wi-Fi network to do pretty much anything apart from listen to music), the spread of (free) Wi-Fi means that there are untapped opportunities to exploit the iTouch in order to address the youth segment.

I haven't seen a marketing insight report on the iPhone (in the sense of an in-depth qualitative study of a group of iPhone users conducted through one-on-one or group interviews over an extended period) but this could shed some light on whether the reality is that kids are getting their hands on their parents' iPhone and effectively sharing the within the same household.

The appeal of the iPhone and its exquisite aesthetics certainly represent a pull for kids and if cross-sharing is indeed taking place, this would mean that the 'real' proportion of the youth segment using the iPhone is much greater than the quantitively measured 26% being reported.