Report: Social Media Sites Driving Teen Retail Purchases

A new report says virtually all U.S. teens are using the Internet, far outpacing the total U.S. population. More importantly, many are counting on social media to influence their purchasing decisions, which may become a key factor in future advertising budgets and campaigns.

By the end of 2011, eMarketer says 96 percent of American teens ages 12 to 17 will use the Web at least monthly, much higher than the 74 percent penetration for the total U.S. population. Teens will inch up to 97 percent in the coming years through 2015, then remain at that level, the report says. Overall Internet usage among all population groups will climb more rapidly, rising to a 79 percent penetration by 2015, and social networks are a major factor in that growth. More than four in five teens will use social networks this year. That compares to 64% of all Internet users.

Just considering Facebook, nearly three-quarters of teens will use the giant social media platform at least once a month this year, the report says. This compares with more than 50 percent who used the site daily in 2010.

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