US Teens like Instagram now, not Facebook

American teenagers today prefer Instagram and Twitter rather than Facebook, showing they have become visual and sound bite communicators, says a new survey carried out by investment bank Piper Jaffray. The Internet and friends dominate teen influences and combine in social media environments.

The survey, involving 72,000 teenagers, found that the percentage of Instagram users has jumped from 69% in spring 2014 to 76% today, while the percentage with a Facebook account has plummeted from 72% a few months ago to 45% today.

While Twitter is still popular, its usage among teens is also sliding, albeit more slowly than Facebook’s. In the spring of this year 63% of adolescents had a Twitter account, compared to 59% today.

In the teenage usage league, Instagram is in first place, followed by (in order) Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Facebook has become increasingly popular with teenagers’ parents, a development that sparked a massive exodus. Being involved in social media interactions with mom and dad adding input is uncool for adolescents.

Teen Social Media

(Data source: Piper Jaffray)

Co-director of research and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, Steph Wissink, said:

“Our fall 2014 survey results indicate teens continue to diversify their tastes through discovery of emerging brands and multi-brand experimentation, even as their views of the economy worsen. We also observe trends that indicate teens use social media, mainly Instagram, to create their own unique personal brands and seek peer affirmation. Millennials continue to be early adopters of change who use technology to engage with brands ‘on demand’ on their own time.”

Teenage spending

With teenage employment rising, spending in that age-group has rebounded. However, their perception of the economic climate has deteriorated, with about 73% seeing the US economy as either unchanged or getting worse, compared to 57% one year ago.

For the first time in nearly two years, spending on fashion-related products has increased among adolescents. Expenditure on accessories has declined, but has increased on color cosmetics, and apparel (clothing).

The percentage of teenagers asking for a high-definition personal camera GoPro gift quadrupled over the last twelve months.

The most popular consumer electronics brand for American teens is Apple, with 67% owning an iPhone today, compared to 61% in the spring. Seventy-three percent of teenagers expect their next mobile phone to be an iPhone.

Demand for organic foods has risen significantly among adolescents, especially those living in upper-income households.