In the largest, longest-running survey of its kind, Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) asked more than 68,000 North American households how they think about, adopt, and use technology. The resulting report, “The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2005,” combined with data from the seven previous years, provides a comprehensive view of technology’s role in consumers’ lives.

With more than 600 data points and 347 consumer brands across 12 industries, the study shows that the adoption of consumer electronics and Internet access will continue to see significant growth through the end of the decade. By 2010, 62 percent of US households will have broadband access to the Internet, 53 percent will own a laptop, and 37 percent will use a digital video recorder (DVR) to gain control over how and when they watch TV.

Forrester’s methodology reveals that consumers’ attitudes toward technology — are they optimistic or pessimistic? — determine much about how they incorporate technology into their daily lives.

“The rise of consumers’ adoption of personal devices, home networking, and broadband, combined with the increasing importance of the Internet in media, retail, banking, and healthcare, means that every consumer-facing industry must better understand the intricacies of technology adoption and use,” says Forrester Research Vice President Ted Schadler. “Missing from most marketers’ toolboxes is an understanding that consumers’ attitudes toward technology determine a lot about how they receive marketing messages, get service online, adopt new technologies, and spend their time.”

The report includes data in categories like devices, media, telecommunications, retail, finance, healthcare, and government. Sample data points include:

Device, Broadband, And Home Network Adoption

  • Twenty-nine percent of North American households connected to the Internet using broadband connections in 2004, up from 19 percent in 2003.
  • Broadband access will more than double this decade, reaching 71 million US households in 2010. This growth will be spurred by providers like SBC and Comcast, which target tech pessimists with lower prices, better in-home support, and a clearer statement of benefits.
  • Only 8.8 percent of US households have a home network today, dominated by households with multiple PCs and broadband access to the Internet. Benefits like surfing the Internet while watching TV, shopping in the kitchen, and listening to digital music in the living room will drive home networking adoption to 46.5 million households by 2010.
  • Last year, MP3 player adoption more than doubled to 10.8 million of US households; 15 million US households bought digital cameras; and 8 million households purchased laptops.

Media Consumption And Online Behavior

  • Today, only 6 percent of online consumers read blogs and 2 percent use RSS, while 70 percent of online consumers use the Internet to research products for purchase. Marketers should focus on identifying the early-adopting tech optimists who read blogs to tap effective viral marketing opportunities.
  • Households with a laptop and home network watch three fewer hours of TV per week and read the paper an hour less per week than offline households do.

Banking And Shopping

  • In the past three months, 43 percent of US online households banked online, 41 percent checked their account balances online, and 24 percent transferred balances online.
  • In 2004, 39.5 million US households shopped online — 3.5 million more than in 2003. Broadband, laptop, and home networking adoption will help drive online research and purchasing to more than 55 million households by 2010.

Table Of Contents Of The Report

  • The Five-Year Forecast For Devices And Access
  • Technology Attitude Determines Technology’s Role
  • Broadband Moves Further Into The Mainstream
  • Home Networks Fuel Digital Home Activities
  • Online Activities: Broadband Changes The Mix
  • The PC Market: Broadband Drives PC Entertainment
  • 2004 Was A Banner Year For Device Adoption
  • Digital Cable And Satellite TV Fight For Share
  • Wireless: Mobile Data Services Catch On
  • Telecommunications: Wireless Replaces Local Lines
  • Media: Nomadic Networkers Watch Less TV
  • Search Marketing Reaches Broadband Households
  • Finance: Online Transactions Are Still Cutting-Edge
  • Retail: Online Shopping Continues To Grow
  • Auto And Travel: Tech Optimism Goes With Luxury
  • Healthcare: Tech Optimists Get More Help Online
  • eGovernment And Public Policy: The Digital Divide
  • Technology And The Canadian Consumer

“The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2005,” Forrester’s annual Consumer Technographics® North American Benchmark Study, is a survey of 68,664 North American households. The full report is available to WholeView 2™ clients and can be found at The entire database is available to Technographics Data & Services clients.