I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about kids and devices. It’s mostly as market research for my new business (more about that later) and, luckily for me, it’s also really interesting. I knew that devices were big with kids, but honestly, I didn’t know just HOW big. So I thought I’d share a bit about what I’ve been learning, in case, like me, you haven’t been keeping up-to-date on the trends…
One of the things that surprised me is that the rate of iOS and Android device adoption has surpassed that of any consumer technology in history. Compared to recent technologies, smart device adoption is being adopted 10X faster than PCs were in the 80s, 2X faster than the internet in the 90s and 3X faster than recent social network adoption. That last bit in particular blew my mind because remember how Facebook just seemed to explode? And to think that the adoption of mobile devices is three times that?? Wow.
Now, of course, that’s mobile devices in general, not specifically with kids. Well, it gets even better. It turns out that in October, 2011, 52% of kids ages 0-8 yrs had access to mobile devices at home. And that was over a year ago. Imagine what it is by now, especially given what was topping kids’ holiday gift lists this year: you guessed it, devices. In fact, the iPad was the number one request for kids aged 6-12 yrs (48%) and consumers aged 13+ years (21%) according to Nielsen. And looking at the wish list of kids aged 6-12, in particular, here is what Nielsen reports:
You probably noticed that four of the top five requests are mobile devices. And the interest in the iPad, for this age group, is up from 44% in 2011. It will be interesting to see how many of these kids actually received devices as holiday gifts this year, but what we do know is that research firm NPD’s latest report (1/3/2013) estimates that there are currently more than 31.8M tablet devices in US homes. Considering the 2011 Census reported approximately 114M US households, that’s a pretty healthy penetration.
You’re probably convinced, just from your own experience, that device use by kids is growing like crazy. But if you’re not, maybe some of these data about educational app downloads will seal the deal. Strategy Analytics reported that in 2011 there were 270M educational app downloads, up from 25M in 2009. That is a more than tenfold increase in those two years. Again, we don’t yet have the data for 2012, but I feel pretty comfortable extrapolating that the number of educational app downloads was, ya know, high.
And even though I don’t yet have the data to support that opinion, it seems clear that app developers must agree that the opportunity in educational apps is huge. Because when I checked the recent app store numbers two days ago I found that there are now more than 115,000 educational apps, between the iTunes and Google Play app stores. I was stunned. When I looked at the stores in the late spring of 2012, the number loomed somewhere near 50,000. And I’m not even looking at Kindle, Nook or Microsoft app stores at this point. (I’m a little bit afraid!)
I mentioned earlier in this post that I’ve been doing a lot of this reading as market research for my new business, Balefire Labs. With more than 115,000 educational apps out there I can’t even imagine how parents and teachers are going to make sense of it all and find what they need for their kids. We have our work cut out for us at Balefire!
What is your experience? Did your kids ask for and/or get mobile devices this past holiday season? And how’s the hunt for educational apps going?
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- Facebook Mobile User Counts Revealed: 192M Android, 147M iPhone, 48M iPad, 56M Messenger (techcrunch.com)
- Mobile Devices Becoming Preferred Portal To The Internet – IDC (misco.co.uk)
- You and your new Android device – a getting started guide (androidauthority.com)
- If 2012 Was “The Year Of Mobile,” 2013 Will Be “The Year Of The Tablet” (marketingland.com)