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Teeny fad

Spot it, own it and flaunt it is the teen mantra for electronic gadgets

Photo: Raju.V.

It’s your call Mobile phones are tools of style statement

Visit any mobile showroom in the city and you’ll find groups of teenagers sifting latest models of handsets.

Dumping parents to seek the company of peers while buying such gadgets is an unwritten law religiously followed by the youngsters. A thorough homework (read browsing of websites that give a low-down on the latest models) precedes the visit.

Of the 60,000-odd handsets sold every year in the city, the collegiate, more particularly teenagers, form a major chunk of the nearly Rs.-21-crore mobile business. Besides the primary purpose of talking, the several add-on features serve as bait to the younger lot. The incredibly net-savvy teenagers are in the habit of browsing websites of mobile companies to know the latest features. The fanciest ones are zeroed in to put forth a demand before the parents.

“The sales executives cannot afford the risk of trying to close the deal easily, as most of the young buyers have a sound knowledge of the technology,” says Ankam Ravindra, a sales executive in a mobile shop.

The cell-phone-toting teens generally prefer the walkman series, the n-series and of course, i-phones. From rapid-fire text messages to full-fledged web browsing to videos and video games, cell phones have become portable computers. “While boys enjoy the freedom to purchase a handset of their choice, girls are seldom the decision makers. Only 10 per cent of girls decide which brand or type they want to use,” says Y. Swapna Kumar, executive director of Big C, a retail group in the State for mobile phones.

Mr. Kumar says most teenagers prefer handsets worth Rs. 6,000 and above. “With an increase in purchasing power, they don’t think twice before grabbing a gadget worth anything between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000. There is an unprecedented craze among students for i-phones even before its launch.”

Being part of the race to own latest technology is almost a rule among teens. “You are tagged as outdated if you don’t keep pace with the trend,” says S. Tejasvi, an engineering student.

The youngsters feel they deserve to own things that allow them to flaunt their style. A trendy mobile phone with features like FM radio, black berry, blue tooth, camera etc is a tool for them to qualify the yardstick set by the ‘more happening’ peers.

G.V.R. SUBBA RAO

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