It’s no surprise that teenagers are some of the most active users of mobile.

Their texting prolificacy is well-established, and for many, sending an email or making a telephone call is a rare event.

But according to a new study released by Nielsen, teens in the United States are also rapidly increasing their mobile data usage.

Looking at the cell phone bills of more than 65,000 subscribers, Nielsen found that teens aged 13-17 consumed 320MB of data on average each month in Q3 2011.

Males used more data (382MB per month) than females (266MB per month). The most popular activities driving data usage, unsurprisingly, include social networking, web browsing and apps.

The 256% year-over-year growth of data consumption amongst US teens shows just how integral a part of teenage life the mobile phone is playing. In addition to data, according to Nielsen, teens are now sending an average of nearly 3,500 text messages each month. As Nielsen notes, that equates to nearly 7 text messages each hour.

Teens aren’t the only ones using their mobile phones more though. Across all age groups, Nielsen tracked a minimum year-over-year growth of 90%. The second highest growth rate was seen in the 18-24 age group, which saw average monthly data usage jump from 216MB to 534MB. But even older Americans are getting into the act. The age range 55 to 64 grew its average monthly data consumption from 59MB to 133MB.

Needless to say, teens are an important yet elusive market for many
brand marketers, and Nielsen’s numbers make it clear that brands wanting to reach teens will need to include
mobile in the marketing mix. But it’s also clear that mobile marketing strategy will increasingly be important for most age segments.