Millennials More Likely to Own Portable Gadgets

February 7, 2011

pew-desktop-v-laptop-feb-2011.JPGMillennial consumers (age 18-34) are more likely to own laptop computers and other portable gadgets than older consumers, according to [pdf] a new study from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Data from “Generations and Their Gadgets” indicates that Millennials in particular have driven recent overall growth in laptop ownership.

Laptops Approach Desktop Ownership Levels

US desktop computer ownership has fallen slightly since 2006, as laptops have gained in popularity. Currently 59% of all adults own a desktop computer, and 52% own a laptop (76% own a computer overall).

However, as recently as April 2006, slightly less than 70% of adults owned a desktop computer and only about 30% owned a laptop. In general, desktop ownership has steadily fallen since then and laptop ownership has risen, with laptop ownership plateauing between April 2009 and January 2010 and desktop ownership slightly growing between roughly January and May 2010. Both types of computers have experienced a slight decline in ownership since about May 2010.

Millennials Like Laptops

pew-desktop-v-laptop-age-feb-2011.JPGMillennials are the only generation that is more likely to own a laptop or netbook (70%) than a desktop computer (57%). While 69% of adults in Generation X (age 35-46) own a desktop, a close 61% own a laptop.

Meanwhile, roughly six in 10 adults ages 47-65 own a desktop, and only 49% of Younger Boomers (47-56) and 43% of Older Boomers (57-65) own a laptop. Only 45% of adults over age 65 have a computer of any kind and among adults 75 and older, laptop ownership hits a low of 10%.

Millennials Dominate MP3 Player Ownership

pew-mp3-feb-2011.JPGAlmost half (47%) of adults surveyed own an iPod or other MP3 player. However, while 74% of Millennials own an MP3 player, only 56% of members of Gen X do. Adoption rates continue to drop for each of the older generations. Only 3% of adults age 75 and older own this type of device.

Millennials, Gen X Tie for Game Ownership

pew-game-feb-2011.JPGOverall, 42% percent of all adults age 18 and older own a game console, and it is especially popular with members of the Millennial Generation and Generation X. Sixty-three percent of all adults ages 18-46 own a game console like an Xbox or Play Station, as well as 38% of those ages 47-56.

Ownership rates continue to drop off, to 19% of Older Boomers (ages 56-64), 8% of the Silent Generation (ages 66-74), and only 3% of the G.I. Generation (age 75 and older).

Mobile Devices to Overtake PCs

There will be a significant consumer and enterprise shift away from the desktop and laptop PC in favor of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and netbooks in 2011, according to a new white paper from Deloitte. “Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2011” forecasts that out of $815 million which will be spent globally on PC- and non-PC computing devices, $375 million (46%) will be spent on smartphones.

The second- and third-largest revenue drivers will still be traditional laptops ($200 million, 24.5%) and desktops ($150 million, 18%). However, the remaining $90 million will consist of tablets ($50 million, 6%) and netbooks ($40 million, 5%). This means a combined 57% of 2011 computing device sales will consist of non-PC devices.

About the Data: These findings are based on a survey of 3,001 American adults (ages 18 and older) conducted between August 9 and September 13, 2010. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish, and the survey included 1,000 cell phone interviews.

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