We just published our annual report on The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2013, US. This data-rich report is a graphical analysis of a range of topics about consumers and technology and serves as a benchmark for consumers’ level of technology adoption, usage and attitudes. Our annual benchmark report is based on Forrester's Technographics® online benchmark survey that we've been fielding since 1998. The report covers a wide range of topics, such as online activities, social media activities, retail behaviors and preferences, and device usage—for  ‘traditional’ technologies like TVs and laptops—as well as more emerging technologies like smartphones, tablets and wearables.

We analyze our findings through a generational lens, including Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X, Younger Boomers, Older Boomers, and the Golden Generation. While most Americans are already online, we are seeing major strides in mobile Internet access. In 2013, all generations are connected—81% of the US adult population goes online. But there are still generational differences in smartphone usage: Seven of ten Gen Zers and Gen Yers use a smartphone, but only 18% of the Golden Generation do.

Gen Yers continue be the early adopters of new technologies and not only show wide-scale usage of smarpthones and tablets, but are also starting to show signs of using emerging technologies like wearable devices. The graphic below shows the percentage of US online adults who currently use and would be interested in using emerging technologies. While the overall US adult population has significant interest in these technologies, it’s the Gen Yers who are most likely to use these types of devices.

The report goes into rich depth about consumer technology usage and behaviors, but here are a few highlights:

  • Gen Zers are connected everywhere they go.This young generation spends more time on mobile Internet than any other age group and they use their smartphones to connect from the most locations. They’re also the most active social networkers—they have the most Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
  • Gen Yers continue to be the early adopters of new technologies.Not only do 70% use a smartphone and 44% use a tablet, they are the earliest adopters of emerging technology behaviors like devices to track their activity, performance in sports, get feedback on their eating habits, and even track their driving habits to negotiate a better insurance policy.
  • Gen Xers are embracing online and mobile commerce.  Three-quarters of this generation have purchased products or services online in the past three months, and already a third of online Gen X mobile users have purchased products on their mobile phone.
  • Boomers use multiple connected devices.There are over 63 million online Boomers; in fact, they make up more than a third of the US adult online population. This large audience uses multiple connected devices and likes to connect in and out of the home.
  • The Golden Generation (still) lags behind.Consistent with our findings of previous years, the Golden Generation trail other generations in technology usage.

These are just a sneak peak at the insights we capture. Our analysis is based on Forrester’s annual online benchmark survey that we run in our North American Technographics program. The full data set includes almost 2,000 data points and data on more than 150 US brands. We received over 61,000 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 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. Please contact me if you'd like more information.