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Survey results: Devices we use daily in 2014

This week we're sharing the most interesting results from our Australian "What's In Your Bag?" survey on the tech readers carry with them every day.

In our latest survey of Australian CNET readers, we asked people to tell us about the technology they carry with them every day. Each day this week we're exploring the results of our survey for a snapshot of our daily digital lifestyle in 2014.

Later in the week we will look at laptops, phones, and tablets in greater detail, look at our loyalty to the brands we choose to buy and then a look at the apps we're using on all our smartphones and tablets. But today we start with the basics from our survey - what mix of technology is being carried by Australian tech enthusiasts every day?

The Devices We Carry

It's no surprise that the mobile phone is now utterly dominant in our lives. Of the 787 participants in the survey, 94 percent carry a personal phone with them every day. 15 percent carry a work phone, showing that the personal device is now far more prevalent than work-supplied mobiles, and that there must be an overlap where some people are carrying two phones for personal and work use.

Headphones are second only to smartphones in our survey results. Bose

After the phone, you may expect to find the laptop in second place on our list of devices carried, but that's not true. Coming in second we found 62 percent of those surveyed carrying after-market headphones -- headphones purchased separately from those that came packed in with their phone. This was a surprising result that shows how important audio has become to enthusiasts while they're on the go.

Next up is another shock to the formerly dominant world of laptops, as we find tablets combining to be in more than half of all surveyed bags each day. We queried a split of personal and work tablets, across both large and mini sizes, and found large personal tablets on top (31 percent), then mini personal tablets (19 percent) and large work tablets third (6 percent). We had no responses for mini work tablets, suggesting workplaces are focused on the larger format as it better suits use in presentations and meetings, where smaller tablets might be a more personal experience device.

Fourth place on the list goes to laptops when we combine personal laptops (32 percent) with work laptops (15 percent), showing that almost one in two people are shouldering a notebook every day. Again, the shift toward the personal dominating over work devices is shown quite clearly here.

H2 by HYT
Not-so-smart watches still rule the wrist. HYT

One wearable technology stood out from the crowd of accessories, but not the one you might think. The humble 'traditional watch' was considered a daily must for 40 percent of those surveyed, showing the not-so-smart classic wearable is still important to many people. It is still early days for smart watches so it will be interesting to see how this number changes in years to come.

Across other accessory categories we found portable hard drives (33 percent) and USB battery back up devices (24 percent) ranking highly, while others are looking quite niche at this stage. Dedicated cameras (10 percent), tracking tech and wearables (10 and 8 percent), e-readers (9 percent) and dedicated gaming devices (9 percent) closed out the poll. Tracking tech was defined as personal fitness devices like Fitbit and Jawbone, while wearables were defined as offering a deeper interactive experience, like smart watches.

Dedicated cameras and gaming are a long way down the list, showing the smartphone has superceded these categories in the vast majority of people's daily routines. They might still own them for occasional use, but only one in ten are carrying these products every day.

At the very bottom of the list we had Chromebooks as a specific variant on laptops as we looked to get a sense of how the Google notebook is building momentum. At just one percent in our survey, it's got a long way to go.

The most common number of devices being carried by those surveyed was five, with three to five devices accounting for more than half of all responses. Dropping smaller devices and accessories from the count, two devices was the norm, suggesting the combination of phone and laptop, or phone and tablet, is a highly typical way for many people leave the house. It was more likely someone had two or three devices than only one.

Our Most Important Devices

Digging deeper on the above, we looked at which devices people listed in their top three devices and which they listed as their most important.

The results again show that the mobile phone is critical above all else. The same 94 percent of those surveyed had the personal mobile in their top three, with 83 percent of those ranking their personal mobile as most important.

Laptops and tablets both climbed higher when ranked in this way, with personal laptops (30 percent) leading work laptops (14 percent) and large personal tablets (26 percent) leading mini personal tablets (13 percent). Work tablets showed up in just 4 percent of top threes.

USB battery backup is a top priority for those who carry them. Mophie

Across the mix of other accessories their prominence was quite low, but when we look at how often those lower ranked devices were ranked most important it makes for some interesting insights.

We notice USB battery packs and wearable tech both had a high proportion of 'most important' responses amongst those who had named them to their top three. In both cases we would think there is a loyalty to the reason people feel like they cannot leave home without them.

For battery packs it is clearly the fear, or experience, of running out of power when you need it most. For tracking and wearables, the quantified self lifestyle is certainly something advocates simply would no longer live without.

Beyond The Basics

So this is our basic breakdown from the most fundamental questions in our survey. Headphones, traditional watches, and tablets trumping laptops were all interesting surprises here and there's plenty more insights to come over the next few days.

What's In Your Bag? Main Chart
Which devices are people carrying every day? CNET

Tomorrow we'll dig into how we are combining our usage of laptops, phones and tablets on the go. Wednesday we'll dig into our brand choices and loyalties and how work brands are starting to look quite different from our personal device choices.

Until then, let us know what is most important to you in the comments below.