Australian Smartphone and Tablet Data

Aussie Teens Online Use Increases with Smartphones

82% of Australian teenagers aged 14 – 17 see the internet as very important in their lives, which fact would not have escaped the notice of their parents.  Teenagers are increasingly involved in online activities, with a particular focus on entertainment and socialising.

However, as teenagers have less income and fewer opportunities for purchasing, they are not the main drivers of growth and development in the digital economy.  Not yet anyway.   But the depth of online engagement for these 14 – 17 year old Australians, and their increasing use of smartphones, is setting the scene for a healthy mobile economy in the next few years.

According to a recent snapshot on teenagers from ACMA, 89% of Australian teenagers already have a mobile phone and 69% of these are smartphone users.  They are active internet users, with 9 in 10 teenagers having internet access at home.  72% go online more than once a day, more than half using their mobile phone and a quarter using a tablet.

Methods of internet access are changing quickly for young people.  Going online via the home computer or at the library is in decline, while access via wireless hotspots is increasing.  Naturally the rise in teenage smartphone ownership is changing where and how they can get online.

The ACMA snapshot identifies that going online is becoming an integral part of teenage lives and a central behaviour for social interaction.  While adults spend much more time online, presumably at work and during the day (while teenagers are at school), 72% of teenagers are still managing to get online more than once a day – for nearly half an hour a day.

While online they spend most of their time interacting with user-generated content, connecting socially and communicating with their peers. Entertainment, communication and research are the key goals of teenagers, who are not in a life stage where shopping, banking or practical transactions are particularly relevant.   However in the last five years, teenagers have increased the numbers of activities they carry out using a mobile phone, all without a significant decline in activities on a fixed computer.  In particular, the number of teenagers engaging via mobile phone with online communities has increased from 22% to 58% since 2009.

Perhaps surprisingly however, Facebook use is declining in this age group, with only 58% of teenagers using Facebook in 2013 compared to 70% the previous year.   Even with more than half of Australia’s 14 – 17 year olds on Facebook, they still only make up 5% of Australian Facebook users.  Slightly more popular is content browsing and entertainment service Tumblr, with 8% teenage audience, and Instagram and Reddit with 6%. YouTube and Wikipedia are also losing their appeal, with mobile apps taking over the interest of teenagers.

The Aussie Teens Online snapshot from ACMA is a valuable collection of statistics about the digital life of young people in Australia and a glimpse into the behaviours of a demographic that will play an increasing role in our local digital economy in the next few years.

ACMA Aussie Teens Snapshot

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