Safa Rashtchy led a focus group discussion on stage at Web 2.0 with 5 teenages aged 17 – 19. Perhaps most surprising were the products they discussed as being important in their lives and which ones they did not mention:
- MySpace (and Facebook)
- Mobile Phone (e.g. SideKickII, ring tones)
- Google General Search and Image Search
Not discussed as important:
At the core of their usage was keeping in touch with their friends and meeting people. Everything is related to social connections (e.g. IM, Personal Spaces) for them. Also it seems like they were quite focused on getting things for free (or cheap) and also an continued emphasis on cash, in person transactions (with the exception being ringtones). It will be important to influence and find ways to bring this segment online into the world of eCommerce. Also noteable, one teen mentioned he spent $50 – 60 a month on ringtones.
At a related presentation Sky Dayton (SK-Earthlink) spoke about wireless phones in South Korea. The people there have an emotional attachment to their wireless carrier (even more pronounced than the trend we are seeing in US teens):
- Carriers have stores that are hangouts, phone cleaning stations, online community presense (e.g. cyworld – 90% of teenagers use it)
- Mobile SatelliteTV on your phone (tu4u.com)
- Music. 25% of people have music-enabled phones (little MP3 player penetration). Leading service: Melon. In one interview a teen laughed when asked if he had an MP3 player as he said what’s the need.
Long term, it will be important for eCommerce to bridge the current gap into the wireless device relm where teenages are currently growing up in.