Examining Consumers and Technology: The 2010 US Benchmark Data Report

Yes, we did it again: Hot off the presses, I’d like to present our annual State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark Data Overview report . If you need to know anything about consumers and technology, then you need to read this report!

As usual, we’ve analyzed the newest installment of our consumer benchmark survey and updated the numbers on everything from mobile Internet adoption to home network proliferation. In fact, most anything related to consumers and their use of and interest in technology can be found in these pages!

In this year’s report, we segmented consumers by generation, examining Gen Y, Gen X, Younger Boomers, Older Boomers, and Seniors. This view provides some very interesting and actionable consumer insights into how technology behaviors vary across generations. Which devices are Gen Xers more likely to own? Who’s spending the most money online? How are Boomers engaging with mobile? All these questions are addressed throughout the report. The graphic below shows, for example, how the generations compare across mobile adoption.

A few other interesting general insights we uncovered:

  • Gen Yers live and breathe a digital social life. In almost every online or mobile behavior, Gen Yers lead the adoption curve. To these consumers, digital is the norm. 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
  • Gen Xers are the masters 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.
  • 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. On everything from telecom monthly fees to online purchases, Boomers spend the most.
  • 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 report is based off of 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 42,785 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 the more than 400 brands we ask about.

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