More Americans Own Mobile Phones than Computers

A higher percentage of US adults owns a mobile phone than owns a computer, according to new data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Cell Phones, Computers Top Gadgets
Pew data indicates that 85% of Americans now own a cell phone. Cell phone ownership rates among young adults have reached 96% of 18-to-29 year olds. Meanwhile, three-quarters (76%) of Americans own either a desktop or laptop computer. Since 2006, laptop ownership has grown dramatically (from 30% to 52%) while desktop ownership has declined slightly.

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Less than Half Own MP3 Players, Video Games
Ownership rates of other popular gadgets among US adults do not reach 50%. Slightly less than half of American adults (47%) own an MP3 player such as an iPod. This represents a nearly five-fold increase from the 11% who owned this type of device in early 2005.

Console gaming devices like the Xbox and PlayStation are nearly as common as mp3 players, as 42% of Americans own a home gaming device. Parents (64%) are nearly twice as likely as non-parents (33%) to own a game console.

Tablets, E-readers Grow with Early Adopters
Compared with the other devices on this list, e-book readers (such as the Kindle) and tablet computers (such as the iPad) are relatively new arrivals to the consumer technology scene and are owned by a relatively modest number of Americans.

However, these devices are proving popular with traditional early adopter groups such as the affluent and highly educated. Ownership rates for tablets and e-book readers among college graduates and those earning $75,000 or more per year are roughly double the national averages of 5% and 4%, respectively.

Multiple Ownership Common
Eight in 10 American adults (78%) own two or more of these devices, and the median adult owns three of the seven gadgets we asked about in our survey. Among other factors, device ownership is highly correlated with age.

For example, the typical adult younger than age 45 owns four devices, while the typical adult between the ages of 55 and 64 owns two and the typical senior (age 65 or older) owns just one. Those with high levels of income and education are also more likely to own a relatively large number of devices compared with those with lower income and education levels.

iPad Owners Valuable to Advertisers
iPad owners may currently represent a small segment of the adult US population, but they demonstrate a number of demographic trends that make them valuable to advertisers, according to research from The Nielsen Company. iPad owners skew younger and more male than owners of many other portable computing devices. Sixty-five percent of them are male and 63% of them are younger than the age of 35.

Google eyes online consumer index

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Google US internet titan Google is readying its own ‘Google Price Index’ based on a vast database of online purchases, providing a daily measure of inflation, said a top company official quoted in the Financial Times.

Google has not yet decided whether it will publish the index (GPI), which is still in development, the group’s chief economist Hal Varian said at the National Association of Business Economists conference in Denver, Colorado.

Varian said the GPI indicates a ‘very clear deflationary trend’ for goods purchased online in just under a year of data gathering, a potentially worrying prospect for US officials.

The GPI, calculated differently from official statistics of consumption — a key indicator of US economic growth — as it only accounts for products sold on the internet, but can be a much faster tool as results could be modelled at real-time speed.

The most recent official data from the Commerce Department was released at the beginning of October and showed consumer spending in August. Those figures showed spending rose 0.4 per cent in August as consumers spent slightly more than expected for the second straight month.

Story from www.ninemsn.com.au

Email Still Tops Facebook for Keeping in Touch

Only 18- to 24-year-olds use the social networking site more than email for passing items on

Content-sharing has become a staple of internet usage for most online adults. Research from Chadwick Martin Bailey found that three-quarters of web users are likely to share content with friends and family, and nearly half do so at least once a week. But while much social networking content is built around such shared items, most people still prefer to use email to pass along items of interest.

Overall, 86% of survey respondents said they used email to share content, while just 49% said they used Facebook. Broken down by age, the preference for email is more pronounced as users get older. And only the youngest group polled, those ages 18 to 24, reverses the trend, with 76% sharing via Facebook, compared with 70% via email.

Ways US Internet Users Share Content, by Age, Aug 2010 (% of respondents)

Earlier research from StrongMail and ShareThis also found email was still on top for content-sharing. Other studies have shown that, when limited to sharing on social sites, Facebook is No. 1.

Asked what gets them to share content online, web users polled by Chadwick Martin Bailey revealed selfish motivations. Rather than focusing on sharing content they thought the recipients would find helpful or relevant (58%), most respondents cared more about what they thought was interesting or amusing (72%). Asked to select the single biggest reason they shared content, the greatest percentage of respondents (45%) again said it was because they enjoyed it. Men and women reported similar reasons for sharing, but motivations varied by age. The oldest respondents cared more about the value of content to recipients: 67% of those ages 55 and older said they shared items because they would be useful to recipients, compared with just 45% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

Primary Reason US Internet Users Share Content Online, Aug 2010 (% of respondents)

This difference in sharing motivation could have a relationship to the method of sharing. Email is a more targeted form of sending content; while content-sharers may shoot off mass emails to large distribution lists, most email shares are likely sent to a person or small group selected based on the specific content being shared.

Sharing via social networks like Facebook, by contrast, typically involves feeding items to an entire friends list. The youngest users, who care the least about whether the recipients of their content actually want to see it, are also most likely to disseminate the information to the widest group. And the seniors and older boomers who find the recipients’ needs more important dramatically favor email for sharing, suggesting they are sending relevant items to only those who will want them.