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Deloitte-Device-Ownership-US-2012-v-2011-Mar2013The rapid increase in smart device penetration in the US means that 26% of Americans surveyed late last year reported owning a laptop, smartphone and tablet, up from 10% in 2011, per results from Deloitte’s latest “State of the Media Democracy” survey. The biggest jump came in tablet penetration, almost tripling between 2011 (13%) and 2012 (36%). The results come on the heels of a report from the NPD Group that the combined number of smartphones and tablets owned by American consumers has surpassed the installed base of computers for the first time.

The NPD Group press release has since been taken down from the researchers’ site, but the release had mentioned that desktop/laptop penetration was at 93% of internet households, tablets at 53%, and smartphones at 57% of cell phone users. A representative from the NPD Group also cautioned that the installed base data refers to the number of devices owned and in-use, rather than household penetration (% of households with at least 1).

The Deloitte study breaks the respondent sample down into 5 generations: trailing Millennials (14-23); leading Millennials (24-29); Xers (30-46); Boomers (47-65); and Matures (66+). The data shows that:

  • Trailing Millennials have the highest rate of adoption of laptops (84%), slightly above leading Millennials (82%) and Xers (81%);
  • Leading Millennials have the highest rate of smartphone adoption (77%), followed by trailing Millennials (70%) and Gen Xers (69%);
  • Leading Millennials also sport the highest rate of tablet adoption (48%), with trailing Millennials and Gen Xers tied at 43%; and
  • Gen Xers (34%) are top of the pack when it comes to e-reader adoption, slightly above leading (32%) and trailing (31%) Millennials.

Overall, 46% of smartphone owners expect to use them more in the next 12 months, as opposed to just 4% who will use them less. Tablet owners show a similar tendency to increase their usage, with 42% expecting to use them more, as opposed to 6% who will use them less. That finding supports earlier research from Prosper Mobile Insights, which found 34.7% of smartphone and tablet owners surveyed saying they would spend more time this year with their devices, compared to just 5.7% who said they would tone it down a little.

Meanwhile, the Deloitte survey also reveals that of the various devices owned by respondents, 69% rated their smartphone as among their top 3 of most value, up from 54% last year. Laptops (65%) were the next-most valuable, followed by tablets (32%, up from 26%), and e-readers (14%, down from 20%).

About the Data: Fielded by an independent research firm from 11/8/2012 to 11/21/2012, the Deloitte survey employed an online methodology among 2,129 U.S. consumers. All data is weighted back to the most recent Census data to give a representative view of what US consumers are doing.

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