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Cell phones dominate as Americans continue to go digital



Our fascination with electronic gadgets shows no sign of weakening, and in some areas, we are just getting started!

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project today released the results of a study that looked at ownership and adoption of seven key digital appliances by American adults. To no-one’s surprise, the cell phone is far and away the most popular device, with 85% of Americans now owning one. Young adults (18-29) lead the way, with 96% ownership, but even seniors (65 and older) are getting in on the act, with 58% now owning a mobile phone of some kind.

Computers are the next most popular gadget, with three-quarters of all Americans adults owning either a desktop or a laptop computer. As the Internet has gone mobile, manufacturers of laptop computers have reaped the benefit. While the proportion of Americans owning a desktop computer has fallen from 68% to 59% over the last four years, the number owning a laptop has surged – up from 30% to 52% over the same period.

American adults are also buying MP3 players (including iPods) and gaming consoles, although adults with kids are nearly twice as likely as non-parents to own a gaming console.

The potential for e-readers and tablet computers was underscored by the relatively low current ownership rates for both these devices. At the present time, ownership is concentrated around the usual early-adopting communities of college graduates and higher-income families. But as prices come down and the gadgets become more versatile, ownership rates are expected to climb, possible at the expense of laptop computers.

Overall, 8 out of 10 American adults (78%) own two or more of the seven devices covered by the survey, and the median adult owns three. As expected, ownership is highly correlated with age. The typical adult under the age of 45 owns four devices, while the typical senior owns just one.

The survey was conducted among 3,001 American adults (ages 18 and older) between August 9 and September 13, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish, and the survey included 1,000 cell phone interviews.



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