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Teen survey makes Microsoft's Zune seem futile

Piper Jaffray's biannual Teen Survey is out and when it comes to MP3 players, things look very good for Apple and bleak for Microsoft and Sony.

Piper Jaffray

The results are in for the spring installment of Piper Jaffray's biannual Teen Survey, and not surprisingly, things look very good for Apple--particularly when it comes to the iPod.

According to the survey, now in its eighth year, 92 percent of students own some sort media player--up from 87 percent a year ago--and of those who do own a media player, 86 percent own an iPod. Only 4 percent of the 600 students interviewed for the survey owned a Zune. (The average age of the students surveyed was 16.3 years old; 54 percent were male, and 46 percent female).

With the iPod being so dominant, those numbers are about what you'd expect. But what should concern other MP3 makers is the number that came up when teens were asked what MP3 player they were planning on buying in the next 12 months: 100 percent said they were buying an Apple iPod. Not a single vote was cast for MP3 players from Microsoft, Creative, Sony, iRiver, Sandisk, or "other."

Of course, teens don't represent the whole market, but this group does represent the leading edge, and if Apple's "hooking" kids early, this will translate into future domination in older age brackets where Apple currently enjoys a large lead in media players.

While I'm highlighting that 100 percent figure on MP3 purchases, publications like Apple Insider are talking about how Apple's "near the saturation point for iPod, iTunes use by teens." And the big question is whether Apple can convert teen iPod users into iPhone users.

Eight percent of the teens surveyed said they owned an iPhone and 16 percent said they were considering buying an iPhone in the next six months. The latter number actually represents a decline from Piper's last survey, where 22 percent of the teens said they were going to buy an iPhone. Also, in the fall '08 survey, 8 percent said they owned an iPhone, so that number hasn't gone up. But if AT&T and Apple were able to get out a $99 iPhone with a more affordable plan, you'd probably see that ownership number jump quite a bit in the next survey.


Via Apple Insider