New devices need new strategies

01 August 2011

NEW YORK: Ownership levels of tablets, e-readers and smartphones in the US vary by age and gender, suggesting marketers need to take a targeted approach when using these tools.

Affinity, the media research firm, surveys over 60,000 consumers each year, and reported that 12% of American adults had bought an e-reader, such as Amazon's Kindle.

"When it comes to the growing number of mobile devices in the marketplace, there are new owner profiles emerging that suggest that one generation of Americans may be better prospects for a particular device than others," its study said.

Currently, 54% of this audience is female and 46% is male, while Boomers - or individuals aged between roughly 47 and 66 years old - were 19% more likely to own such a device than the average.

It was estimated that 8.2m Boomers have an e-reader, and an additional 10m are interested in buying one during the coming six months.

Of those already possessing this gadget, 92% use it at home, 13% do so at work, and 36% browse content on the move.

Turning to tablets, total penetration is 8%, but 22% of shoppers expressed a desire to obtain a gadget like the iPad or Galaxy Tab in the near future.

By contrast with e-readers, the audience for slates has a slight male skew, at 52%, ahead of the 48% posted among females.

Members of Generation X, falling between 34 and 46 years old or so, proved most enthusiastic about tablets, as over 9% of this demographic had already bought one.

A further 24% of the same group, equivalent to almost 21m people, were keen to do so going forward, the study added.

Participants in Generation X with a household income topping $100,000 were 63% more likely to own a tablet than their peers.

Elsewhere, 56% of the 34-46 year olds who had purchased a slate regularly shared it with others.

Smartphone penetration stood at 42% across AMS's panel, with 15% more members of its sample looking to join this cohort during the next six months.

Men made up a 54% majority of users, and the probability of a "Millennial" consumer, or someone under 33 years old, owning a smartphone was found to be 28% higher than the norm.

Indeed, 54% of Millennials owned an iPhone or alternative and an extra 18% are keen on entering the category.

Some 63% of contributors fitting this age profile utilise their smartphone at work, while 95% are the sole users of these handsets.

Millennials who have graduated from college were also found to be 23% more likely to already be a smartphone subscriber than their peers.

At present, however, this new range of wireless devices lag considerably behind computers in terms of penetration, with 84% of adults owning an appliance like a PC or laptop.

Data sourced from Affinity; additional content by Warc staff