The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released their Generations and Gadgets study, with a short and sweet infographic of who owns what devices . Some of the findings include:
Cell phones are by far the most popular device among American adults, especially for adults under the age of 65. Some 85% of adults own cell phones overall. Taking pictures (done by 76% of cell owners) and text messaging (done by 72% of cell owners) are the two non-voice functions that are widely popular among all cell phone users.
Desktop computers are most popular with adults ages 35-65, with 69% of Gen X, 65% of Younger Boomers and 64% of Older Boomers owning these devices.
Millennials are the only generation that is more likely to own a laptop computer or netbook than a desktop: 70% own a laptop, compared with 57% who own a desktop.
While almost half of all adults own an mp3 player like an iPod, this device is by far the most popular with Millennials, the youngest generation—74% of adults ages 18-34 own an mp3 player, compared with 56% of the next oldest generation, Gen X (ages 35-46).
Game consoles are significantly more popular with adults ages 18-46, with 63% owning these devices.
5% of all adults own an e-book reader; they are least popular with adults age 75 and older, with 2% owning this device.
Tablet computers, such as the iPad, are most popular with American adults age 65 and younger. 4% of all adults own this device.
On the surface, the breakdown is interesting. Personally, I wish that they had made the distinction between cell phones and smart phones. Oddly enough, in their 6 survey questions, there is no question indicated regarding cell phones or smart phones and that distinction is somewhat important, particularly for Internet related demographics. It's hard to see where they got their information regarding cell phones based on the survey questions, aside from 1,000 of 3,001 people interviewed doing their interviews on their cell phones. The lack of information on this is somewhat disturbing and causes the smart phones to be tossed out with the bath water of cell phones in access of websites and services on the Internet.
The rest of the survey seems pretty good. Desktop computers aren't as popular for the youngest generation in the surveys as laptop computers are, which means that they likely suffer smaller screens the majority of the time - an important thing to remember when dealing with website design.
MP3 players are more likely to be had the younger the individual is according to the survey. On the surface, this may seem to have little to do with the Internet - but if people are using podcasts, these can be downloaded and listened to offline on these devices.
eBook readers and tablets are only marginally found in the survey, which really isn't that surprising despite the marketing hype, particularly that of Apple. There has been a lot of speculation that this is a major growth area, but with the increase in laptop usage as the generations become younger, it's hard to say that laptops and eBook readers/tablets won't merge somewhere in between.
The study also demonstrates generation gaps in technology usage.
In all, the survey results demonstrate a more practical use of technology than the marketing departments of various corporations would have us believe. The smart phones, such as Android based phones, Blackberries and the iPhone could really use a little more attention in comparative surveys like this.
Image at top right made available through a Creative Commons licensed (Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike) by FotoBart