Who uses communications gadgets?

Who uses communications gadgets? The Pew Internet and American Life Project has categorized the “technology elite” based on a study of who owns communications gadgets. (For someone who is always suspect of such research findings, I’m linking to a lot of them today.)

Here’s who they say are the “technologically elite” and other users. (Gee, I wonder which group I’m in. Surely not one with the word “older” in it?):

  • Older Wired Baby Boomers: This group is 6% of the population, is mostly male, and has an average age of 52 years. These people spend the most money per month of any group (an average of $175), 100% have Internet access, and most (82%) have cell phones. They are very active information gatherers online.
  • Wired Generation Xers: This group comprises 18% of the U.S. population and a member of this cohort is as likely to be female as male. Relative to the other two groups in the tech elite, Wired GenXers have less online experience, but they have quickly embraced a wide range of information goods and services. All use the Internet and 82% have cell phones. They are the second most active group (behind the Young Tech Elites) in pursuing the Net’s interactive features. They spend an average of $169 per month on information goods and services. The average age in this group is 36.
  • Wired Senior Men: This is a very highly educated small cluster (1% of the sample) of mostly older men (average age is 70) who have a wealth of online experience, having been online for about 10 years.
  • Young Marrieds: This group is 15% of the population, with an average age of 24 years and evenly split between men and women. Two-thirds (66%) use the Internet and more than half (56%) have cell phones. Their average monthly spending on information goods is $124.
  • Low-Tech Older Baby Boomers: This other group of aging baby boomers has an average age of 54 years, is tilted toward women, makes up 21% of the population, and has a cell phone penetration rate that exceeds Internet penetration (60% to 51%). This group has lower-than-average educational and income levels and only a few years of Internet experience. Their average monthly spending on information goods is $124.
  • Unwired Young Baby Boomers: This group makes up 16% of the population. Members of this group are slightly more likely to be women than men and the average age is 39 years. Internet penetration is modest (45%), but 69% have cell phones, which exceeds the national average.
  • Low-Tech Elderly: Making up 16% of the population, more than half (58%) of this group is women and the average age is 73 years. Only 12% use the Internet, 39% have a cell phone, and much of their technology use is oriented to “old” media. Fully 68% subscribe to cable, 57% read the newspaper daily, and 78% watch TV news on the average day.
  • One thought on “Who uses communications gadgets?

    1. No, Rex, you’re only as old as you try to convince everyone that you are. Just like Jack Benny (this is a test – all readers who recognize this name are just as not-old as Rex).

      After carefuly considering the study, I find I’m in the borderline of the diverse, 69 percent low-tech majority who are not part of the elite based on the factors they list – spending, number of devices, early adopting, use of older technologies, etc. Distressing – I would have imagined myself far for firmly entrenched in that group, since I have never downloaded a music file; do not have a PDA or GPS or DVR; prefer videotapes to DVDs; changed ISPs once several years ago; don’t carry (or use) a cellphone unless forced to do so; well, you get the non-digital picture. My chainsaw is new, though.

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