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9 in 10 Aussie teens now have a mobile (and most are already on to their second or subsequent handset)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2015 – June 2016, sample n = 512 Australian Mobile Owners aged 14-17

‘Just put that thing down for five minutes please’. ‘Look at me when I’m speaking to you’. ‘Not at the dinner table’. ‘Well where did all the last lot of credit go?’ ‘It’s me again, I need to know what time you’ll be home, call me back’—If you’ve said any of this recently, chances are you‘re the parent of a teenager, nearly all of whom now own a mobile phone, Roy Morgan Research shows.

Just over one million Australian teens aged 14-17 (91%) have a mobile phone. The other 9% may not be wrong when they claim, ‘but everyone else I know has one!’

Those kids today: nearly all 14-17 year-old mobile owners have a smartphone (94%)—and a massive 75% are already on to their second or subsequent handset (while only 25% are still using their very first mobile phone).

78% of mobile-owning teens say someone else pays for all or most of their usage charges (with just 22% paying for it themselves), 62% got their current mobile handset brand new (vs 38% with a used handset, including hand-me-downs), and 65% are using prepaid and 35% are on a postpaid plan—almost the exact reverse of the ratio in the general population.

Australian Mobile Phone Owners aged 14-17

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2015 – June 2016, sample n = 512 Australian Mobile Owners aged 14-17

Over half of teens own an Apple iPhone (58%, compared with the norm of 41% of all Australian mobile owners), and 22% a Samsung (compared with 31% overall).  

When it comes to mobile service providers, 37% of teen mobile owners are with Telstra (compared with 44% of all Australian mobile owners 14+), 21% are with Optus and 16% are with Vodafone (both very close to the national norm).

Rather than to the other two network operators, Telstra’s decreased market share among 14-17 year-olds is going to Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs): 26% of teen mobile owners are with an MVNO, including 7% with Virgin, 5% with Amaysim, and around 2.5% with each of TPG, ALDI Mobile and Boost.

The average 14-17 year-old spends (or their parents spend) around $10 less per month on mobile usage than adult mobile owners. This is largely driven by teens’ higher take-up of prepaid plans with discount MVNO providers.

And totally unsurprisingly, those 22% of mobile-owning teens who have to pay for usage themselves spend almost $5 less a month on average than those whose parents foot the bill. 

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Teens aged 14-17 are around twice as likely as other mobile owners to use the device for playing music, videos and games. 82% of teens have done one or more of these activities on their mobile in the last four weeks—almost as many as made an actual phone call with it.

“Almost half of teens say they can’t live without a mobile phone. They’re also much more likely than other mobile owners to say they’re happy to receive relevant ads on the phone (especially if it could reduce the phone bill).

“And, a warning for the parents who are paying for their teenagers’ usage: 30% of teens say they often go over the data limit.

“The Roy Morgan Young Australians Survey also looks at mobile phone ownership and usage among kids aged six to 13. It shows that mobile phone ownership rises quickly, from around just one in five 10 year-olds, to one in three 11 year-olds, to over half of 12 year-olds, and to three quarters of 13 year-olds before reaching this 91% of 14 to 17 year-olds as identified in our main Single Source research.

“Further investigation of teens’ mobile activities and attitudes is crucial for anyone wanting to engage with teenagers today—and can also provide insight into the expectations of future adult customers.”   

For comments or more information please contact:
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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2