Teens Deliver Word of Mouth

Anyone who has tried to shut a teenager up will be unsurprised to learn that teens produce a disproportionate amount of “word of mouth” about products and services. A recent report from Keller Fay Group has the numbers to document this phenomenon.

Based on data collected during a one-year period (July 2009 through June 2010), the report says teens “engage in a significantly higher level of word of mouth about all categories than the total public.” For instance, 78 percent of 13-17-year-olds, vs. 57 percent of the general public, engaged in word of mouth about “media & entertainment” brands during that period; 67 percent of 13-17s, vs. 39 percent of the public in general, talked about “technology” products.

There were also large gaps when it comes to products/services in “telecommunications” (63 percent of the 13-17s, 39 percent of the general public), “retail & apparel” (59 percent vs. 38 percent), “sports, recreation & hobbies” (63 percent vs. 42 percent) and “personal care & beauty” (45 percent vs. 26 percent).

The research tabulated the brands that get the most word of mouth from 13-17-year-olds. The top 10: Coca-Cola, Apple Computer, Verizon, iPod, Ford, Pepsi, McDonald’s, AT&T, Sony and Nike. For comparison, the top 10 among total respondents consisted of Coca-Cola, Verizon, Walmart, AT&T, Pepsi, Ford, Apple Computer, McDonald’s, Sony and Dell.

Despite teens’ immersion in the Internet, the report says the vast majority of their word of mouth takes place either face-to-face (75 percent) or by phone (10 percent). Just 13 percent occurs online.

Thirty-eight percent of teen’s word of mouth takes place at home and 28 percent at school.