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US teens still overwhelmingly love Apple and Google needs to stop ignoring that

Apple is winning the popularity contest among young people in the United States.

Published onApril 6, 2022

Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max rear panel
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • United States teens overwhelmingly prefer Apple iPhones to Android devices.
  • Apple Pay is the top payment option among teens.
  • Google needs to do more or risk losing ground.

The latest research is in and Apple is still the overwhelmingly popular choice among US teens for phones, as well as some services.

Piper Sandler conducted its semi-annual Generation Z survey of 7,100 US teens to determine what devices, products, and services are most popular with them. The results should be a wake-up call for Google, with Apple’s iPhone the clear favorite among teens.

Piper Sandler Generation Z Survey
Piper Sandler

According to the report, 87% of teens currently own an iPhone, with 87% also planning on their next phone being an iPhone. This is near record highs for the company’s surveys, and shows Apple continues to maintain an undisputed lead in the premium smartphone market.

Similarly, Apple Pay took the top spot among payment apps and services, with 23% of users. PayPal’s Venmo came in a close second at 21%, while Google Pay was a distant tenth-place with a mere 2% penetration.

See also: What is Venmo?

Teens prefer Apple, and that’s bad news for Google

Piper Sandler’s report should be a major concern for Google. Dating back to the early days of the iPod, Apple has always relied on a “halo effect,” wherein entry-level products with broad appeal are used to draw users in to the Apple ecosystem. The iPhone has long since supplanted the iPod in that role, being many users’ first introduction to the Apple world.

Unfortunately for Google, patterns, habits, and preferences individuals establish in their teens often stick with them for life. According to Piper Sandler’s report, teen iPhone usage is already the driver behind Apple Pay’s top spot among that demographic:

For payment apps, Apple Pay ranked first, partly due to 87% of teens in the survey saying they have an iPhone.

The more users become familiar with — and reliant on — Apple’s services, the more unlikely they are to break out of the company’s ecosystem at a later date. Apple’s iMessage is another example, with Apple even admitting it had the ability to release a version for Android. That option was ultimately scuttled, with SVP Craig Federighi saying, “the #1 most difficult [reason] to leave the Apple universe app is iMessage…iMessage amounts to serious lock-in.”

Google seems to know it has a problem, recently calling out Apple over what it called “peer pressure and bullying” over the whole blue vs green message bubble debate. However, as Piper Sandler’s research shows, Apple’s overall popularity among a key demographic could be an even more significant hurdle for Google to overcome long-term.

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