Apple’s iPod and iTunes Store remain the dominant MP3 player and online music store, respectively, in the teen market, according to the results of Piper Jaffray’s latest bi-annual Teen Survey. Of the 92% of students that said they currently own a digital media player, 86% said they have an iPod, up from 84% in the prior survey. While the percentage of students saying they are planning on buying an MP3 player in the next 12 months dropped dramatically from the prior survey, from 28% to 19%, a full 100% of those who plan to purchase intend to buy an iPod. “Apple is dominant in the market, and the lead appears to be growing as the market nears saturation,” said Piper analyst Gene Munster. “Apple’s dominance in the PMP market remains largely unchecked, and it is clear to us that Apple has captured the ‘cool factor’ among high school students across America.”

iTunes also made significant gains in the Spring ‘09 survey. While the percentage of students saying they download music online rose modestly, from 80% to 82%, and the ratio of students saying they use P2P file sharing over purchasing tracks remained the same at 6 to 4, 97% of students who said they purchase music online said they use iTunes, up from 93% in the prior survey. Finally, the percentage of students who said they owned an iPhone remained flat from the prior survey at 8%, but the percentage of those planning to buy one in the next twelve months fell slightly, from 22% in Fall 2008 to 16% in Spring 2009. “We believe AT&T rate plans are adversely causing the discrepancy in teen’s interest in the phone, and actual market share gains; as much as teens want the phone, parents may be reluctant to add expensive monthly data plans to their teen’s phone bill,” Munster said. “We expect Apple to address this issue in the coming months, with a family of iPhone models including a high end model with current plan pricing and possibly a low-end model with fewer features and lower-cost monthly data plans.” Piper Jaffray’s Spring 2009 Teen Survey was based on the responses of 600 students with an average age of 16.3 years, 54 percent of which were male and 46 percent female.

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.