Forrester’s Annual Update on North Americans’ Technology Uptake: Americans Continue To Adopt Digital Lifestyle

Jackie Anderson [Posted by Jackie Anderson]

It’s that time of year again for our annual Consumer Benchmark Data Overview Report.

Charles Golvin and I spent months sifting through the mass of consumer data we collected earlier this year in North American to create the Benchmark Overview. For many of our clients this document serves as their annually updated go-to-resource on everything related to consumer’s technology adoption and attitudes. We cover it all, from forecasting device adoption to understanding green attitudes. If you’ve been searching for nicely summarized data on consumers in the tech space, look no further, you’ve found your source!

In this year’s report, we segmented consumers by lifestage looking at young singles and couples, young families, older families, and older singles and couples. This lens provides some very interesting consumer insights into how  technology behavior changes when people transition between different stages of their lives. Which devices do they own, and how many of them, what are they buying and not buying, how they are using the Internet and even how they’ve structured their digital home. The graphic below shows for example how these different lifestage groups compare across PC adoption.

Pc benchmark 2009

Source of data: North American Technographics Benchmark 2009

A few other interesting general insights we uncovered:

Young singles and couples are the most connected to the Internet. They are more likely to go
online in places other than home or work, these consumers tend to carry the Net with them. About half has send a picture from a cell phone in the past month, and a quarter has accessed the mobile Internet.
Young families are heavy tech adopters. This group owns the most devices overall, but they especially lead the adoption of family-friendly devices like Blu-ray players, DVRs and game consoles. A high 93% owns a DVD player, 76% has some type of game console at home, and 39% has a home theatre system. 
Older families have the most digitally connected homes. 
As already shows from the graphic, families with older children live in a 'wired' home. Their average spend on connectivity is highest across Internet, TV, and phone. They have on average 3 mobile phones at home, and more than 2 PCs.
Older consumers spend most money online. While lagging on the adoption of many technologies, these consumers are the leaders when it comes to online spending. They've spend on average $560 dollar online in the past three months, and about one in five spent more than $1,000 online.

Click here to get access to some additional consumer insights related to this report.

The New York Times has a write-up of the report this morning, click here to read the article.

The report is based off the annual mail survey we run in our North American Technographics program. For those of you who aren't familiar with our benchmark survey, it's an annual mail survey that we've been fielding since 1998. This year, we received 48,412 completed questionnaires in the US alone (we also cover Canada). It is our biggest consumer survey (in fact, it's the biggest and longest-running survey on consumers and technology in the world), and it covers the impact of technology on a variety of consumer markets including automotive, consumer technology, banking, healthcare, marketing, media, retail, and travel. The sheer size of the Technographics sample allows us to look at both on and offline consumers in a variety of ways, including by the 378 brands we ask about.

We love to talk about our data, please post your comments here and we will endeavor to answer your questions around the survey and how it might help you understand digital consumers.

Comments

re: Forrester’s Annual Update on North Americans’ Technology Up

Jackie:Thanks so much for keeping us in touch with this work. I was confused, however, because two of your sub-headlines seemed to contradict each other:1. Young singles and couples are the most connected.2. Older families are most connected.

re: Forrester’s Annual Update on North Americans’ Technology Up

Hi Patti,Thanks for the note. I clarified the "connecteds" above. The first was referring to the Internet while the 3rd was referring to the digital home.Thanks!

re: Forrester’s Annual Update on North Americans’ Technology Up

Hi Jackie,I'd love to see a couple of things:1. of the 81% of US households that have "any PC", what % of those are connected to the internet?2. of the 19% that do not have "any PC", can this group be characterized in some way: urban/rural, household finances, etc?Great report btw, and love the blog.Thanks,brian

re: Forrester’s Annual Update on North Americans’ Technology Up

Hi Brian,Thanks for the follow-up questions. Of those households with a PC, 90% are online. (We here at Forrester define "online" as actively online at least once a month).As for those households without a PC, the trends there are as you'd expect: lower income, older, minority (especially African-American), single households with no kids.

re: Forrester’s Annual Update on North Americans’ Technology Up

This is great research- thanks for sending out. Can you please tell me the age parameters you're using to define older consumers? Also, do you have any information on which websites seniors age 65+ are visiting the most?

re: Forrester’s Annual Update on North Americans’ Technology Up

The age cut-off we used in our groups was 40. We do ask consumers about a variety of websites they may or may not visit. However, the access to that more detailed data is limited to our Technographics clients. Let me know if you're interested in that service and I can put someone in touch with you.Thanks!

re: Forrester’s Annual Update on North Americans’ Technology Up

Your blog is so nice.Thanks.