Poll finds Apple dominating youth computer, tablet and phone markets

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An annual poll studying brand loyalty in American youth markets finds Apple as the most-liked manufacturer of computers, tablets and mobile phones.

Results released on Tuesday from research firm Harris Interactive's youth EquiTrend poll, which measures brand equity by familiarity, quality and purchase consideration, named Apple "Brand of the Year" in the computer, tablet and mobile phone categories, suggesting the company will dominate those youth markets in 2012.

The online study polled 5,077 consumers aged 8-24 in August, 2011, with a total of 121 brands being rated among 8-12 year olds and 167 brands among 13-24 year olds.

Noting an increase in the purchasing power of young Americans, the report suggests that companies need to earn customer loyalty early, saying the demographic is expected to spend $211 billion in 2012.

"Youth of today have spending power and they also have loyalty to brands," said Regina A. Corso, Senior Vice President for Youth and Education Research at Harris Interactive. "Brands who tap into this loyalty when a consumer is a tween, and nurture it through the teen years, will have an extremely loyal customer by the time the customer is a young adult."

Harris says that tech products are topping youth wish-lists for the upcoming holiday season, noting that Apple's products rank the highest, followed by Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Xoom and HTC respectively. The independent study claims to benchmark the brands that young Americans prefer, offering corporate America a strategic business tool in planning product ramp-up.

"This is very good news for Apple and indicates that their masterbrand is very strong," said Jeni Lee Chapman, Executive Vice President of Harris' Brand and Communication Consulting. "Brands often struggle to maintain relevancy among different generations. This data shows that this is not going to be an issue for Apple."

The Cupertino, Calif. company recently updated its MacBook Pro line, and announced its first free-on-contract iPhone alongside the new iPhone 4S. An LTE-equipped iPhone is expected to launch next year, as well as a rumored successor to the iPad 2.