NEWSFLASH: Teens don’t want the iPhone! Parents beware! The Microsoft Surface and Samsung Galaxy phones are the new “it” things! Apple has lost its cool factor!!!
That’s what the Buzz Marketing Group, an organization that seeks to provide “lifestyle and buzz marketing services for brands seeking to attract teen audiences,” wants you to think. You may have recently seen some headlines from big sites saying that teens think Apple is uncool now.
As my British boss Leander Kahney would say, that’s absolute bollocks.
CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk stirred the pot today yesterday with the headline “Apple is done, say teens.” He quotes a Forbes report from last week that uses the Buzz Marketing info that started this mess. Here’s how Matyszczyk frames it:
Teens have decided that Apple is, like, so over. If you want to be a veritable cooleratus, you want to be seen with a Samsung Galaxy phone in your hand or a Microsoft Surface laptoppy tablet stuck under your arm.
This definitive information comes to me courtesy of research performed by Buzz Marketing, as well as three 14-year-olds who tried to rob me of my orange Puma sneakers.
I’m not sure about the three 14-year-olds, but the Buzz Marketing research should definitely be called into question. Forbes has the original quote:
Ultimately, in the eyes of today’s youth, massive popularity has watered down Apple’s coolness. “Teens are telling us Apple is done,” says Tina Wells of the youth marketing agency Buzz Marketing Group. “Apple has done a great job of embracing Gen X and older [Millennials], but I don’t think they are connecting with Millennial kids. [They’re] all about Surface tablets/laptops and Galaxy.”
Buzz Marketing doesn’t say how many teens it talked to or provide any other kind of meaningful, statistical data. Apple just isn’t hip anymore. It’s science.
Well, I’ve got news for you Buzz Marketing: teens still think the iPhone is “like really cool.” According to a completely unprofessional survey I have conducted with my 14-year-old sister, the iPhone is “totally awesome.” When I told my little sister about Buzz Marketing’s research, she said, “Are you kidding me?”
She has an iPod touch that she’s addicted to now, and she wants her next phone to be an iPhone “so, so bad” because all of her friends either have one or want one too. They all use their iPod touches to Instagram “#selflies” and stalk the band One Direction.
My colleagues actually talked about this Forbes story on a recent episode of the CultCast. Leander mentioned how his kids are obsessed with the iPhone, and how all of his daughter’s public school friends got the iPhone 5 for Christmas. It’s all iPhones, iPhones, iPhones.
A couple reader comments from the articles I linked above:
“I teach. They all want Apple stuff. In fact, I’m always amazed how many of them do have Apple products. The iPod touch is extremely popular with our kids. I have yet to hear a student mention a Surface. If anything they’ll talk about just wanting a “tablet” in general if they aren’t specifically talking about an iPad. The only time I hear them say anything against Apple, it’s to say how expensive all the stuff is. I think that’s why many students don’t have it and may have a poor opinion of their products, families simply can’t afford them.”
“Interesting, I went to the MS Store, by the way I kinda like the Surface and want to see the Pro in action, and most of the parents I saw that were trying to get the kids into it, the kids would simply walk across the mall to Apple. MS don’t build your stores across from Apple.”
There are also plenty of people who say that Android is cooler than the iPhone, but the numbers tell a different story. iOS devices topped kids’ wish lists again this past Christmas, according to Nielsen. Only 20% of kids ages 6-12 wanted a smartphone other than the iPhone. The children of Bill Gates even wanted Apple stuff. Apple continues to sell tens of millions of iPhones and iPod touches every quarter. Where are the Microsoft Surface sales numbers?
These kind of Apple-is-doomed-in-a-certain-demographic stories have been coming out for years. It doesn’t change that the fact that your local Apple Store is always packed with kids and teens gawking at the newest iOS devices. Buzz Marketing’s “research” just doesn’t add up.