Teens Don’t Want The iPhone According To Research That Doesn’t Make Sense



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.

  • MrsCleaver

    Just three of the many things that make absolutely no sense:

    Bad research
    This article

    I’ve observed that part of human nature dictates that we want people and companies to succeed, right up until the time they do. Then, almost immediately, we want them to fail. The minute Apple shows any sign, any sign at all of not fulfilling each and every goal or promise, here come the naysayers and haters. “Jobs wasn’t them nice guy we thought he was”, “Tim Cook isn’t a cool enough replacement god”, “Apple isn’t perfect.” These are the things that people love to upchuck. I just hate to see Cult of Mac joining in.

    -end of rant-

  • craigburdett

    I wonder who paid Buzz for their – ahemm – “research”? <-- And, yes, those are air quotes!

  • kevin13769

    Personally i would of thought that “MARKETING” means paid for… SO who paid for this Marketing Garbage…? Google, Samsung, Microsoft or simply all of them…??? I mean companies don’t market for nothing so it would be interesting to find out who and why paid for this…

  • Gadget

    I have noticed in my kids and their friends that iMessage and facetime are the two biggest reasons they want an iPhone. Free built-in texting between friends is huge for a generation that probably texts more than they talk

  • darkhuntress

    The kids in our family all have iPhones, iPods and/or iPads. That’s it. Mention the Surface (they have no idea what that is) or any Samsung product and they will laugh you out of the room. That includes their friends as well who , I might add, also have Apple products.

  • Jim Allen

    Utter bollocks indeed! I design schools (among other things) for a living, and the one thing that everyone wants are Apple products. iPads, iMacs, iPods, it’s like someone has been to their local Apple Store and said, “Yup, I’ll take all of this and whatever you’ve got out the back”.

    Samsung phones? do me a favour, they are cheap contract phones for geeks who like Linux, and people without either the taste os money to afford an iPhone.

    Windows phone are indeed on an upward trend, but considering where they have come from, it’s not a huge surprise. However – look at the prices and the reviews. Windows 8 hasn’t exactly been well-received.

    I do think that Apple are at a crossroads in terms of a “Where do we go from here?” question, but for the moment, they are very much in demand.

  • MBottleMe

    Right – because someone who designs schools must be in touch with what teens want – instead of what parents and local government wants. If you’ve been involved in the mobile device and accessory market, this is old news. iPhone is a “mom phone”. I’ve heard that exact quote dozens of times. The iPhone is still the big kid on the block, but it is rapidly losing market share. Pretending that isn’t the case so you can keep suckling at Apple’s teat won’t delay the inevitable move toward newer and more accessible technologies.

    I do want to say thank you to Jim Allen for the laughs though. Rarely can someone pump so much misinformation into such a small area (which makes sense as a school designer). “Samsung phones? do me a favour, they are cheap contract phones for geeks who like Linux, and people without either the taste os money to afford an iPhone.” Amazingly you managed to fit 4 false statements into one “sentence” without a single discernible fact, and you did so while apparently requesting a favor that you never identified. Good job. Please never go near a school again. Enjoy your mom phones though.