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Tuesday, April 08, 2014, 02:08 pm PT (05:08 pm ET)

Teen interest in 'iWatch' growing as iPhone dominates field, study says

Apple's iPhone continues to lead all competing devices in the important U.S. teen demographic, but the future spenders of America are exhibiting fast-growing interest in new product categories like the iWatch.


Source: PiperJaffray


As part of its Spring 2014 Teen Survey (PDF download), investment bank Piper Jaffray found Apple's iPhone to have built on its position as the smartphone of choice for teens in the U.S., though the bigger takeaway is increased interest in a much rumored smartwatch entry.

Currently, about six percent of the roughly 7,500 teens surveyed own a smartwatch of some ilk, a number slightly higher than expected considering a general lack of choice in the marketplace, said senior research analyst Gene Munster. More importantly, however, are the 17 percent of teens who indicated they would purchase an "iWatch" if Apple were to launch the product at a price point below $350.

Munster points out that an October 2013 survey gauging iWatch interest from the general public showed only 12 percent of U.S. buyers would seriously consider the device. The analyst believes the numbers suggest a nearing potential launch date is fueling interest in the supposed smartwatch. He maintains that Apple will sell some 5-10 million iWatch units in its first full year on the market

Further, the buzz around iWatch indicates teens are looking forward to new product categories from Apple. In February, CEO Tim Cook said the company is working to introduce new devices that any "reasonable" person would consider new categories. It is unclear what Cook was referring to, though industry watchers believe iPhones with larger displays, new laptop offerings and a smartwatch are all on the table.

As for the iPhone, Munster found 61 percent of teens own a version of Apple's handset, up from 55 percent in fall 2013. Looking forward, 67 percent of teens plan to make the iPhone their next smartphone purchase, possibly driven by rumors of a larger screened model that may see release later this year.

Finally, 60 of teens own a tablet device with iPad accounting for 66 percent of the total. Marketshare is down from fall, which saw 68 percent of tablet-owning teens on an iPad.