When it comes to top preferred electronics, in the capacity of “can’t live without,” young people become very passionate in their responses to this question. To most 13-25-year-olds in North America, certain electronics have an appeal beyond the actually physical device, but as a connector to their friends, outside world, source of news, entertainment, and symbol of cool. Over the past 8-10 years, more young people have changed their spending patterns, for example, away from what used to be top items such as snack foods, apparel, footwear, movies, and accessories, to saving for a coveted iPod, laptop computer, software programs to create their own entertainment, and video gaming platforms that perform multiple functions.
In this story, we take a look at the results to the question, “What electronic device can you not live without?” Overall, among 13-25-year-olds across North America, Computer is the top electronic device that they say they cannot live without. This has changed since last year when Cell Phones topped the charts. One reason for this, as indicated in entertainment questions, is that more people are watching and creating their entertainment online. Computer is also, obviously, used for other things including communication, news source, shopping, work, and school.
After computer, iPod has increased and now comes in 2nd overall at 29.6%. We have seen iPod rise from 4th 2 years ago, to 2nd overall in 2008. This is followed closely by Cell Phone at 28.7%, then drops to MP3 Player at 7.4%, Television at 2.1%, Video Gaming System at 1.2%, and Video Camera at 1%. Interesting to note is that TV continues to decrease over the last 4 years. This also correlates with the responses to the question of where young people prefer to watch their entertainment in the future.
By gender, Computer is #1 among males at 31.5% but iPod peaks as #1 electronic device among females at 31.2%. This of course, is a notable difference by gender, especially in terms of preferences for iPods among females. Males rank iPod 3rd overall at 24.4% with Cell Phone second at 25.3%, whereas 2nd among females is Cell Phone at 29.7%, then Computer at 29.6%. Of these top three, therefore, there are notable characteristics to take into account when it comes to top electronic devices and corresponding communication patterns and entertainment. Other notable traits by gender are MP3 Player is at 10.6% of males and 6.4% of females. Television is also much higher among males at 3.9% compared with 1.6% of females, as well as Video Gaming system at 3.2% compared with only .6% of females.
By age groups, there’s a direct correlation in that percentages for Computer increases the older the demographic, peaking at 35.6% of 21-25-year-olds, whereas iPod increases in percentages the younger the demographic at 36.7% of 13-14-year-olds compared with only 15.6% of 21-25-year-olds. Cell Phones also increase the older the demographic. Another notable traits is that Television is clearly still higher among older demographics at 4.2% of 21-25-year-olds.
Overall, by gender and again by age groups, top preferred electronic devices are different, indicating that the market’s changing quickly -and within this generation, producing an electronic “generation gap” within a generation–in terms of what are considered key communication, entertainment, and news source devices. Clearly younger demographics are more interested in smaller, more mobile devices, as well as females. iPod and Cell Phone are of clear importance to this generation, as well as Computers, whereas Television, at least in its current format, continues to lose traction.
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