I am delighted to announce that our annual report on The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2012, US is now available. This report is a graphical analysis of a range of topics about consumers and technology and serves as a benchmark for understanding how consumers have changed over the years. For those of you who aren't familiar with our benchmark report, it's based on Forrester's annual Technographics® online benchmark survey that we've been fielding since 1998 and for which we interview close to 60,000 US online adults. The report covers a wide range of topics, such as online activities, device ownership — including penetration data and forecasts for smartphones and tablets — media consumption, retail, social media, and a deep dive on mobile.
We analyze our findings through a generational lens, including Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X, Younger Boomers, Older Boomers, and the Golden Generation. Age is a key factor behind consumers’ usage of and attitudes toward technology. However, one finding spans the generations: Consumers of all ages embrace the opportunity to find information and connect with people and brands wherever they are. And while online penetration in the US remains the same as a year ago — at 79% of all adults — the depth of Internet usage has grown; more consumers go online on a daily basis and they connect on more devices. The graphic below illustrates our point: US smartphone owners use their device almost everywhere. They aren’t just connecting at home but wherever they go; in fact, they’re more likely to access the Internet on their phone in a store than in their own kitchen.
A few other interesting insights we uncovered:
- Gen Zers are the most social-savvy generation. The social lives of this group of young adults are intertwined with social media. Not only do 84% of US online Gen Zers have a Facebook account, but they also have the largest social networks — with an average of 306 Facebook friends.
- Gen Yers lead in technology adoption and usage. Gen Yers own the most connected devices: More than seven in 10 have a smartphone, and a quarter own a tablet.
- Gen Xers are big spenders. The more than 46 million US consumers in this age group represent a truly high-value audience for companies. They have the highest average household income and spend the most money online of all age groups.
- Boomers are catching up with younger generations. Making up more than a third of the US adult online population, Boomers are a key audience that marketers focus on. That’s why it’s exciting to see that, over time, they are becoming more comfortable adopting new technologies. For example, their adoption of tablets has more than doubled since 2011 — expanding from 6% to 14%.
- The Golden Generation still lags behind. Consistent with our 2011 findings, the Golden Generation sticks to “old” technologies: It is the generation most likely to own a desktop computer, and its members lag behind on ownership of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and many other devices.
These insights show only the tip of the iceberg that is the information available in the report. We based our analysis on the annual online benchmark survey that we run in our North American Technographics program. With 57,499 completed online questionnaires in the US alone — we also cover Canada — this is our biggest consumer survey. In fact, it's the biggest and longest-running survey of 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 online consumers in a variety of ways, including through the lens of the more than 150 brands we ask about. Please contact me if you'd like more information.