Nielsen's new whitepaper on Mobile Youth Around the World reveals that most young people with mobile phones chose their own device. In fact, across all the countries surveyed, only 16 percent of young people reported that their parents selected their mobile phone. Price was the most common consideration among youth in selecting a mobile phone, though that is true among other age groups, too. Youth aged 15 to 24 in all countries surveyed put price as the first purchase driver, with the exception of Russian youth, 21 percent of whom placed design/style first. (Some grown-ups care about design, too. Around 14 percent of Brazilian adults say design/style is the most important consideration, compared to seven percent of U.S. adults.)
Out of all the countries examined, Italy leads in smartphone penetration with 47 percent of young people ages 15-24 owning a smartphone, compared to 31 percent of adults over 25. Smartphone penetration among European youth averages 28 percent in the countries surveyed, while penetration among older adults in Europe is 27 percent. Twenty-eight percent of U.S. mobile subscribers have smartphones. Youth in the United States exceed the population average smartphone penetration by 5 percent.
All countries tend to skew male in smartphone adoption with one notable exception, the US, where 55 percent of smartphone users age 15-24 are female. In the overall U.S. smartphone population 55 percent were male.