NPD: Children's CE usage declines

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. The NPD Group reported that aside from high-definition televisions and laptops, usage of consumer electronics by children ages four to 14 is stable or down from last year. Televisions (both standard and high definition) remain the most widely used consumer devices among kids with 74%of kids in this age group watching TV, while computers (both desktop and laptop) are second at 70%.

"Computers are really the hub for many kids’ digital lives, simply due to the sheer variety of activities that can be accessed online," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "Over the last year, there has been a notable increase in the percent of kids going online to visit social networking sites. However, the percentage of kids who use a computer to play a CD-ROM game, or to download or stream music has declined."

Kids who are using other devices are expanding the range of activities they do on them. For example, there’s a noticeable increase in the percent of kids using cell phones for imaging and music, and portable digital music players (PDMPs) for gaming and viewing videos, NPD reported.

According to the report, HDTVs and laptop computers surpassed digital cameras last year in the percent of households that acquired one in the past 12 months, although cell phones remained the most acquired CE device with 30% of households with kids ages four to 14 purchasing in the past year.

Thanks in part to lower price points for HDTVs, when asked about their future purchase intent in the next 12 months, parents are just as likely to purchase HDTVs for their kids as they are to purchase cell phones or digital cameras, showing the increasing popularity of this CE device, NPD reported. In fact, 18% of parents surveyed stated they plan on purchasing an HDTV for their kid in the coming year, while only 17% plan on purchasing a cell phone or digital camera.

According to the report, four of the top five CE devices owned by kids are all portable. Portable video game systems, PDMPs, digital cameras and cell phones all rank in the top five CE devices personally owned by kids ages four to 14. Console video game systems are the only non-portable device to rank in the top five.

New to this year’s study is the ownership of accessories for cell phones, PDMPs and portable video game systems. With 61% of cell phone owners, 66% of PDMP owners, and 88%  of portable video game system owners having at least one non-essential accessory, accessories are a source of revenue in the CE market that cannot be understated, according to NPD.