A survey of US technology users and their attitudes to technology has revealed that smartphones and phones are increasingly playing a larger part in their daily lives – no matter what their age.
The Forrester study “The State Of Consumers And Technology Benchmark 2010” report is a graphical analysis of Forrester’s North American Consumer Technographics Benchmark mail survey of nearly 43,000 consumers in both the US and Canada.
The report provides a generational overview of US consumers’ demographics, behaviours, and technology attitudes. Survey results were segmented into
- Gen Y (ages 18 to 30)
- Gen X (ages 31 to 44)
- Younger Boomers (ages 45 to 54)
- Older Boomers (ages 55 to 65)
- Seniors (ages 66 and older)
While Americans’ adoption of a digital lifestyle continues, Gen Y and Gen X outpace Baby Boomers and Seniors on almost everything technology related.
As you would expect mobile was a key technology this year – the survey has been running for 13 years. Among the Gen Y and Gen X respondents, 23% of consumers own a smartphone, while 17% of Americans of all ages own one of these devices (up from 11% a year ago).
Gen Y is particularly mobile savvy, and 85% of consumers in this demographic regularly send or receive SMS/text messages (compared with 57% of all US consumers over the age of 18). Gen Yers also live and breathe a digital social life. To these consumers, digital is the norm. About two-thirds update or maintain a profile on a social networking site, and 27% access social networks on their mobile devices (compared with 14% of all US consumers); and 37% of Gen Yers access the mobile Internet (compared with 23% of all US consumers).
Boomers remain middle of the road on technology adoption. Although Boomers in general land squarely in the middle of other generations in terms of technology adoption, they do lead on the amount of money spent on technology.
Seniors occupy the fringes of a digital nation. This group of consumers has seen the biggest changes to the digital world around them. But don’t be fooled; this doesn’t mean they don’t like technology. Seniors can still remember a time when the only TVs were black and white, but now, more than 40% of these households own an HDTV.
“The digital attitudes and behaviours that Gen Y and Gen X are cultivating now will follow them as they age and will only be multiplied in the generations that follow them,” said Forrester Research Consumer Insights Analyst Jacqueline Anderson in her blog post. “Gen Y in particular is living and breathing a digital social life. In almost every online or mobile behaviour, Gen Y leads the adoption curve. About two-thirds update or maintain a profile on a social networking site, which for them is a way to facilitate all social aspects of their lives.”
“On the other hand, Gen X is the master of maximizing the functional benefits of technology. In many activities, Gen Xers closely rival Gen Yers in adoption. For example, both spend about 17 hours online a week. But Gen Xers have mastered the art of using digital tools in a more functional manner, especially if it supports their family’s needs,” said Anderson.