Piper Jaffray: 70% of U.S. teens own AirPods, up from 52% last Spring

Could it be that walking around with little white plastic tubes sticking out of your ears has actually become cool?

From a deeper dive into the Taking Stock with Teens Spring 2021 survey by analyst Harsh Kumar that landed on my desktop Thursday:

Apple’s share of smartphone ownership continues to increase in Piper Sandler’s Taking Stock with Teens Spring 2021 survey. Of the ~7,000 respondents, 88% have an iPhone, the highest percentage we have seen in our survey and up from 85% in the Spring-20 survey. In addition, iPhone may have room to move higher, with 90% of teens anticipating their next phone to be an iPhone. This metric is also the highest ever in our survey history and up from 88% in last Spring’s survey. Apple’s other hardware products showed strong results, with 28% of teens owning an Apple Watch and nearly 70% of teens owning AirPods. Overall, we view the survey results as a sign that Apple’s place as a dominant device brand among teens remains well intact.

Apple Watch and AirPods Increasing Penetration: The Apple Watch remained the #1 smartwatch among teens, with 28% of respondents owning an Apple Watch. In addition, we note only 34% of teens own a smartwatch, meaning Apple controls ~84% of the market. For AirPods, nearly 70% of teens noted they already own the product, up from 52% last Spring. Overall, we believe the already strong attach rates demonstrate Apple’s ability to drive additional hardware growth outside the company’s primary product set...

Overall, we believe results continue to suggest a strong preference for Apple products among American teens. We see these trends are important as the company looks to drive services revenue and complementary hardware products in order to drive further revenue growth. In addition, while the premium smartphone market has largely become a mature market, we believe Apple’s ability to maintain and slightly grow its market share provides a solid base for growth as the 5G product cycle refresh continues to play out over the next few years.

Maintains Overweight rating and $160 price target.

My take: AirPod ownership among TV reporters and talking heads may be even higher.

See also: Record 88% of U.S. teens own an iPhone — survey


  1. Manfred Schwencke said:
    I copy and paste my comment from yesterday:

    Very important numbers for Apple‘s future competitive position!
    If younger generations are „locked in“ to the ecosystem, we do not need to bother about future sales and growth! Once locked in, customers will not leave the ecosystem.
    By the way: I do observe the same here in Germany and Europe: first iPhones are passed down by parents or bought at eBay: once 16, the kids want a new iPhone ….
    The future looks very bright for AAPL!

    April 8, 2021
  2. Daniel Epstein said:
    I will say it took me a while to get used to my AirPod Pro’s but they have become part of my routine. Paired with any music subscription or sound source has been as pleasurable a use of technology I have had in years. Not perfect of course but very close.

    April 8, 2021
  3. I’ve mentioned AirPods (Pro & original) serving me as hearing aids. I know the regulations regarding the sale of hearing aids have changed.
    80% of people with hearing loss live in low or middle income nations. 18% of people exposed to loud noise at work, aged 20-69, have speech-frequency hearing loss in both ears. Only 5% of those employed in quiet occupations test poorly. Rock n’ roll music was cited in my court case. I see Apple providing low cost hearing aids to the world right now. Check out Live Listen and Settings, Sounds & Haptics, Headphone Safety. Great features!

    April 8, 2021
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    I host small retail Apple investors dinners at local restaurants. These gatherings are well attended because I learned long ago if you want to get folk to come, you pick-up the tab. This coming Saturday evening is our next gathering at a local fiesta crab restaurant. Persons in attendance are parents & grandparents. Some bring their children & grandchildren who often end-up becoming Apple investors, too. What’s important, though, is these adolescents willingness to talk Apple & to show device & software features to parents & grandparents. The result of their having done so has resulted in more adults in our meetings buying other Apple devices beyond iPhones, especially new Apple Watches & AirPods once adolescents discuss the devices & their corresponding features at these dinner gatherings. Parents & grandparents often reward their off-springs by setting up brokerage accounts in adolescents names & buying them Apple shares. The adolescent subsequently buy more Apple shares from their own sources of income.

    My purpose in writing the above is to denote that adolescents often influence parents & grandparents to “upgrade” to newer Apple hardware devices such as Apple Watch & AirPods once adults are taught the many features of these devices & the value derived from owning them. So, it’s not limited to teenagers where Apple growth is occurring. That growth is spreading from teenagers to their parents & grandparents.

    April 8, 2021
    • Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
      “ Parents & grandparents often reward their off-springs by setting up brokerage accounts in adolescents names & buying them Apple shares. The adolescent subsequently buy more Apple shares from their own sources of income. “

      Exactly GMTA. Bi-directional (I guess three-way) gifting/influencing going on this way, too.

      April 8, 2021
  5. Ken Cheng said:
    Far easier to count those reporters and talking heads who don’t use AirPods.

    April 8, 2021
  6. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Remember? It wasn’t all that long ago that the masses would instantly balk at getting anywhere near $100 for a set of earphones.

    Enter simplicity.

    Enter convenience.

    Enter sound accuracy.

    I’ve always maintained that Apple’s marketing magic lies in solidly convincing you of The Cost for The Benefit.

    As to the youth angle, I’m rather confident that ultimately it’s the sound accuracy that the AirPods lineup provides that suck and hold them in. It’s at the very heart of the experience.

    After all, we’re talking about generations that first discovered music from 128kbps MP3 file playback on pissy earphones.

    April 8, 2021
  7. Greg Lippert said:
    My child’s middle school sent a note out reminding parents that kids cannot use their AirPods in school – not headphones. AirPods becoming the new name for headphones.

    April 10, 2021

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