America, a nation obsessed with tech

All age groups are now into technology as the U.S. becomes more dependent on PCs, the Internet, and portable gadgets, according to a new report.

Tech lovers used to be dubbed geeks and nerds. According to a new report, we're all geeks and nerds now.

Young, old, single, married--they're all online, using PCs, watching digital TV, and chatting on cell phones, according to a report published Wednesday by Forrester Research. Looking at American consumers by "life stage," Forrester examined the devices people own, what technology they buy, how they use the Internet, and how they set up their digital homes.

Young Singles Log More Hours Online
Forrester Research

Singles under 40 and couples under 40 sans children are well-connected to the Web, noted the report, with 87 percent of them frequently online, both for personal and work reasons. They're also apt to venture online in locations beyond home or work, with 55 percent of them more likely than the overall average adult to access the Web on their phones.

Among parents under 40 with kids under 18, 88 percent of them regularly use the Internet. They also buy devices for the whole family, such as Blu-ray players, digital camcorders, digital video recorders, and game consoles. In this group, 86 percent own a cell phone that's likely to offer music or video playback.

For parents over 40 with kids under 18, 84 percent of them are online, typically splitting their Internet use between work and home. Two in three of these families have broadband, the most of any group surveyed by Forrester. They also love their personal gadgets, owning the most PCs, laptops, MP3 players, and GPS devices of all the groups.

Among singles over 40 and couples over 40 sans kids in the house, 70 percent are online and gravitate toward services that directly benefit them, such as online shopping. The report found that consumers in this group spent more money online over the past three months than any other group.

Across all technologies, HDTV grew the faster in 2008, discovered Forrester, with almost 10 million new households buying a high-definition TV. The second most popular technology was the home network. Forrester predicts that these two technologies will continue to grow at a record pace over the next five years.

Older Families Have the Most PCs
Forrester Research

The venerable PC continues to shine, with the average family owning two or more computers. The under-40 singles and couples are also more likely than other groups to own a laptop.

Four in Five Households Have Mobile
Forrester Research

More than five in six of all homes own a cell phone, with families with parents under 40 leading the way with 93 percent adoption. Among families with parents over 40, 57 percent have at least three mobile phones.

Forrester's report is based on an annual survey sent to consumers by mail. The company said it received 48,412 completed questionnaires in the U.S. this year.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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