European teenagers are more interested in using technology to create and maintain relationships, while their US counterparts crave the latest gadgets to show off.
According to a study sponsored by advertising agency Young & Rubicam (Y&R), there will be 15.3 million teenagers online in Europe by 2005, and music will be the best way to catch their attention.
Bert Meerstadt, chief executive of Y&R's European business, said: "For too long marketeers have operated under the notion that young people on the internet are either North American or at least share the consumer habits and mindsets of their North American counterparts." However, the internet is also being shaped by the people and culture of Europe, he added.
Email and chat applications are the top motives for teenagers going online across Europe, the US and Asia. But European teenagers are more likely than their US cousins to philosophise, and linger over discussion and conversation.
Teenagers in Europe also have higher brand awareness than any other age group, and make labels and logos a fashion statement. However, they are also highly individualistic and are more suspicious of materialism than young US adults, according to the survey.
European teenagers are also becoming increasingly opposed to the way the web seems to blur the national identities of Europe, in favour of one region and the apparent Americanisation of the internet.
Separately, research from Jupiter Communications predicts that kids and teenagers around the world will spend $4.9bn on the internet in 2005. However, they will also spend an estimated $21.4bn in brick and mortar companies based on information they find on the internet.
Jupiter analyst Anya Sacharow said that while the online teenager population is expected to increase, its total spend on the web will be limited. She advises multi-channel and traditional players to invest in their online offerings to educate, communicate and reaffirm brand value.
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