The 10 Most Popular Things for Teens in 2019

Matt Hay

January 2019

The 10 Most Popular Things for Teens in 2019

At the start of a new year, it’s valuable for marketers to consider what is most popular with teens and what they’re likely to remain excited about throughout 2019. So, to kick the year off right, we asked more than 1,000 teens a few simple questions about their favorite things:

Note: Percentages do not total 100%, as only the top answers have been provided.

1. Technology: Teens and smartphones remain an unstoppable force

When it comes to what tech teens love most, it’s no surprise that nearly half of the teens we surveyed said they preferred their mobile phones above all other technology.  And why wouldn’t they? Smartphones can connect teens to everything they care about – from socializing with their friends on social media apps to consuming all types of content from gaming to video streaming. This news is not unexpected, since 95% of teens report that they have a smartphone or access to one. Conversely, teen interest in AR and VR technology appears stagnantin part because no other brand has yet to replicate the success of Pokémon Go, the most popular AR release to date.

 

What’s your favorite technology? 

  • Mobile Phone 48% 48%
  • Gaming 27% 27%
  • Social Media 20% 20%
  • VR/AR 3% 3%
  • Wearable Tech 2% 2%

2. Social Media: Snapchat appears to be in a losing battle with Instagram 

Snapchat has declined in popularity as teens continue to choose Instagram’s superior design and social connectivity. As the ongoing trend around teens moving away from Facebook and Twitter continues, it’s important to note that they still prefer to use multiple social platforms, rather than just one. Teens continue to find new social apps, like TikTok, which has seen a recent explosion in popularity among young people.

 

What’s your favorite social media platform? 

  • Instagram 48% 48%
  • Snapchat 30% 30%
  • Facebook 13% 13%
  • Twitter 7% 7%

3. Video Streaming: Teen YouTube vloggers create highly entertaining content

The rise of online streaming among teens is no surprise, but what is it about YouTube that make teens love it most? More than 52% of the teens surveyed favored YouTube above all other streaming services. In fact, more than 72% of teens report visiting YouTube daily. Popular teen vloggers on YouTube, like 15-year-old MattyBRaps who has over 10 million subscribers, are constantly creating entertaining music videos, vlogs and challenges and posting them to their YouTube channels for young and loyal fans to watch.

 

What’s your favorite streaming platform? 

  • YouTube 53% 53%
  • Netflix 28% 28%
  • Spotify 11% 11%
  • Hulu 5% 5%

4. Watching Sports: Are you ready for some Fantasy Football? Teens are! 

In America, we all know that football is the most watched sport, with soccer and basketball rounding out the top three among teens. Surprisingly, these favorites haven’t changed over the past three years – YPulse did a similar survey in 2015. But what is it about football that is captivating teens? As the popularity of fantasy leagues continues to rise, more and more teens are choosing to join in on the game – 34% of U.S. teens participate in fantasy football leagues.

 

What’s your favorite sport to watch? 

  • Football 30% 30%
  • Soccer 19% 19%
  • Basketball 19% 19%
  • Action Sports (Snowboarding, Surfing, Skateboarding, BMX, etc.) 14% 14%
  • Baseball 9% 9%
  • Softball 4% 4%

5. Participating in Sports: Teens choose to run 

In 2018, there was a surge in teen sports participation, with more 13-18 year olds participating in high school sports than ever before. When asked which sport was their favorite, teens we surveyed said running – whether in cross-country, track or just to stay in shape.

 

What’s your favorite sport to play? 

  • Running 31% 31%
  • Basketball 20% 20%
  • Action Sports (Snowboarding, Surfing, Skateboarding, BMX, etc.) 13% 13%
  • Football 12% 12%
  • Softball 9% 9%
  • Baseball 9% 9%

6. Celebrities: Real-life issues and comedy pique the interest of teens 

When it comes to teens, and which celebrities they think are cool or not, our survey found Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Kevin Hart topping the favorites list. With more than 1.8 million teens battling with mental health these days, most can identify with Selena’s recent highlypublicized hospitalization and treatment for her battle with mental health issues. Alternatively, Taylor Swift recently wrapped up a successful world tour, captivating millions with her songs about relationships and heartbreaks, and singing highly relatable lyrics for teens, such as “I don’t know what I want, so don’t ask me, cause I’m still trying to figure it out.” Lastly, comedy reigns king among teens with Kevin Hart. He recently starred in Night School, a high school comedy that grossed over $103 million and was considered a teen favorite. 

Who is your favorite celebrity?

1. Selena Gomez 

2. Taylor Swift 

3. Kevin Hart 

4. Ariana Grande

7. Gaming: Teens prefer high-energy interaction and life-like simulations  

The video game industry hit upwards of $180 billion in revenue in 2018 and is expected to show more growth in 2019. The top games listed by teens in our survey included Call of Duty, a multi-player first shooter game with zombies that debuted Black Ops 4 in 2018 and made $500 million at launch. Sims, a teen favorite life simulation game, launched its fourth major title in 2014 that has since sold more than 10 million copies and 30 million downloads worldwide. But it’s the expansion and game packs that keep this game at the top with teens, allowing players to shape their characters as they go through life.

What’s your favorite video game? 

1. Call of Duty 

2. Sims 4 

3. Minecraft 

4. League of Legends 

8. Food: Teens love pizza, but tacos and sushi also topped the list 

Teens just love pizza, there’s no disputing it – one girl even wrote an essay about it that got her into Yale! In our survey, sushi, tacos and pasta also topped the list. With popular QSR’s like Taco Bell, and weekly deals around ‘Taco Tuesday,’ it’s no shock that tacos are a teen favorite. Sushi too continues to become more popular in the U.S. among teens.  

What’s your favorite food? 

1. Pizza 

2. Tacos 

3. Pasta 

4. Sushi 

9. Reading: Teens love fantasy fiction. Harry Potter, Twilight and comic books are among the favorites

From vampires to superheroes to warlocks, teens can’t get enough of these immortal characters – in books and on film. Harry Potter, Twilight, and various popular comics topped our teen favorites survey. It’s been more than 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published, but the franchise is still going strong, selling more than 500 million copies to date. And with favorite teen actors like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson taking Twilight to the big screen, it’s no wonder this 3.3 billion dollar franchise continues to remain popular with teens.  

What’s your favorite thing to read? 

1. Harry Potter 

2. Twilight 

3. Comics 

4. Manga 

10. Brands: Companies including Google, Apple and Nike continue to shape teens’ world 

When it comes to brands that teens are loyal to, Apple tops our survey, with over 80% of teens preferring iPhone to Android products. Although Nike continues to remain a top teen brand, Puma, Adidas and other streetwear brands have begun to see bigger gains.

What’s your favorite brand? 

1. Nike 

2. Apple 

3. Adidas 

4. Google 

Contact us to learn more about teens and their behaviors.