Motorola’s out, LG is in: youth survey shows where teen loyalties lie in ’09

The Global Habbo Youth Survey shows youths are not so fickle when it comes to their fave fast food, beverage or media brands, but preferences for mobile phones and grooming products have changed this year.

A global youth survey conducted by Habbo, a virtual world where teens can interact with each other, showed Canadian teens have changed their minds on which mobile phone and styling and hygiene brands they prefer this year, but they remain loyal to their fave beverage, fast food and footwear brands.

The Global Habbo Youth Survey, conducted in April with 112,000 teens between the ages of 11 and 19 (including 4,300 from Canada) also youths’ brand consumption opinions on why they prefer some over others, and what influences their buying decisions. Habbo is the second most popular web network among teens in Canada, with more than 648,000 monthly unique users (ComScore).

This year LG moved into the lead as the favourite mobile phone brand, followed by Apple and Samsung, respectively. Last year Motorola, Telus and LG were the top cellphones among text-happy teens. Also this year Axe, Herbal Essence and Dove were named as favourite makers of grooming products, pushing out last year’s top two faves, L’Oreal and Mac, while Herbal Essence moved up from third place last year.

Meanwhile, J-14, Seventeen and People are still the coolest mags, while the popularity of TV channels changed slightly – Family Channel is still tops (10%) while MTV moved up (7%) but is almost neck-and-neck with MuchMusic (6%). Online adventure game RuneScape still ranked as the favourite (12%), while World of Warcraft moved up (4%) and IMVU, a 3D Avatar game, moved down (3%). Favourite websites were Facebook (36%), YouTube (27%) and Google (8%).

When asked about what impacts their buying decisions, 61% of Canadians teens said they always buy their favourite brands. But 42% of youths also said that their favourite brands keep changing all the time. Only 18% said they ‘dislike brands in general,’ but 45% claimed that brands don’t affect their buying decisions.

As to why they buy certain brands, nearly half of youths (47%) said they prefer those that make them look wealthier, and the same number said they want to stand out from the crowd. While 29% of respondents said they prefer clothes on which brands are not visible, 36% said it’s important for others to see what they’re wearing.

McDonald’s was again ranked the top fast food restaurant by teens (27%), followed by Wendy’s and Subway. For footwear, Nike (15%), DC (13%) and Converse (12%) all stayed on the top three, as did beverage brands Coca Cola (16%), Pepsi (9%) and Sprite (4%).

‘Status is important, being recognized for who you are and what you stand for,’ says Emmi Kuusikko, director, user and market insight for Sulake, Habbo’s Finland-based parent company. Sulake’s Canadian operations are located in Toronto. The study is available at