One of Chicago’s oldest market research firms, C&R, is putting some spring in its step this month with the launch of a new biannual syndicated report called YouthBeat that’s already debunking some commonly held beliefs about US kid and teen behavior.
YouthBeat data is culled from a monthly online panel that polls 10,000 kids ages six to 18 on a diverse range of subjects – including media consumption, advertising, consumer spending and hobbies & activities. Interestingly, the report divides its results according to grade level, not chronological age, and attempts to show how kids (from kindergarten to grade three) are influenced by tweens (grades four to eight) and teens (grades nine to 12) by juxtaposing the results for each demo.
So far, C&R VP Jacquie Lane, who’s heading up the initiative, has found a few discrepancies between what kids are really doing and what many grown-up marketers believe they’re doing, particularly when it comes to new media consumption and advertising.
Cell phones, for example, are still primarily treated as communication devices by tweens and teens. Both groups are far more likely to be using the multi-purpose gadgets solely for their original raison d’être, chatting and texting, than accessing their media-playing functions. Only 6% of each demo in the survey use their phones for watching video, for example, while 71% of tweens, and 84% of teens polled use them to text.