ZURICH: Social networks and smartphones hold a key role in the media and communications habits of young consumers, but traditional channels like TV still have a place, multimarket research has revealed.

Credit Suisse, the financial services firm, polled 3,000 people aged 16–25 years old in three countries, and found 66% relied on TV to stay informed about daily events, hitting 73% in the US, versus 63% in Switzerland and 62% in Brazil.

Online news sites delivered 64% on this metric, measured against the 59% secured in both of the additional markets assessed.

Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and MySpace recorded an average score of 56%, climbing to 73% in the US, 58% in Brazil and 37% in Switzerland. Such a rating declined to 32% for other social media platforms.

Smartphone apps yielded 39%, beating blogs and web message boards on 32%. They thus fell behind radio on 43% and free newspapers on 45%, with the latter total aided by the 77% logged in Switzerland. Paid-for daily newspapers registered just 30%.

"There is one clear trend common to the young people from all three countries. They are increasingly using the internet and smartphones like iPhones, Blackberries or Androids," the study said.

More broadly, 90% of the Swiss panel had Facebook profiles, as did 85% in Brazil and 75% in America. Some 36% of interviewees used social media to keep in touch with friends, growing to 45% in Brazil.

By way of comparison, text messaging posted 53% across the three featured markets, reaching 73% in Switzerland and 61% in America, but a modest 26% in Brazil.

When considering mobile phones overall, fully 67% of Swiss contributors connected with friends via this route, an activity pursued by 43% of their peers in Brazil and only 33% in the US.

Email, by contrast, was important for 19% of those questioned, with chat and messenger services on 22% and landline phones on 11%.

"Today's means of communication do not lead to isolation, as is so widely feared. For young people, they primarily represent a way of sharing with friends," the study said.

Elsewhere, a 65% majority of the sample proved "fairly optimistic" about their future. A further 51% felt they mattered socially, as did 47% economically, with Brazil, on around 70% in each of these areas, well ahead of the other nations.

Data sourced from Credit Suisse; additional content by Warc staff