Who's Still Buying Dumbphones? Teenagers

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Smartphones like the new Apple iPhone 5 are all anyone can talk about, but dumb phones are still very much being used, sometimes as symbol of proud anti-consumerism as we've documented. Turns out, hipsters aside, the real people driving dumb phone sales are teenagers, according to this chart by comScore Data Mine.

ComScore, a digital marketing data company, used its own data to calculate an index for "feature phones"—their term for dumbphones—owners. The dotted line represents an index of 100, the average of all mobile users.

As you can see, the light blue bars for new buyers of dumbphones is highest for people aged 13 to 17. Even though the seniors aged 65 and up make up the biggest portion of feature phone owners (the dark blue bar), it's more likely they've held onto their old phones instead of buying new ones. "Teens may be getting feature phones as starter devices because parents don’t want to pay the cost of smartphones or the data plans associated with them," comScore says.  

That doesn't mean dumbphones are the wave of the future, though. "As more and more value-priced smartphones are released, in combination with shared data plans and easier plan management, we may begin to see lower-end smartphones increasingly encroach on feature phones’ role as starter devices," comScore writes. Maybe when even most 13-year-olds have smart phones, the stubborn dumbphone movement will start to subside.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.