Online market research firm InsightExpress has released the findings from a new study intended to shed light on mobile consumers in the US. The survey was fielded to 2,015 mobile respondents in July 2007. The results indicate that, while younger consumers remain at the forefront of mobile technology adoption, Baby Boomers are embracing mobile use as well. In fact, this generation's behaviour is on a par with that of their more youthful counterparts.
Given the public's growing appetite for connective technology, it's not surprising that mobile phone penetration is on a par with Internet access, the company says. Approximately 80% of respondents reported owning a mobile phone, while 78% of Americans have Internet access.
Mobile phone penetration is actually spread equally across the generations. Although Generation Y (18-24) leads the pack at 85%, it is followed closely by Generation X (25-44) at 82%, younger Baby Boomers (45-54) at 80% and older Baby Boomers (55-64) at 79%.
Among these mobile consumers, it's not just the Gen Y-ers who crave the latest and greatest mobile gadgets. While over half of Gen Y-ers and 37% of Gen X-ers would like to upgrade their device in the next year or so, the numbers remain strong for both younger and older Boomers. A healthy 30% of younger Boomers and almost a quarter (24%) of older Boomers plan to upgrade in the next year.
Although more Gen Y-ers and Gen X-ers have feature packed phones that allow the user to connect to people and information in a variety of ways, the Boomers are not too far behind. For example, 51% of Gen Y-ers say they have phones that can access the mobile Internet, followed by 47% of Gen X-ers, 39% of younger Boomers and 32% of older Boomers. Furthermore, 75% of younger Boomers have text messaging capabilities, 54% have ringtones, and 52% have camera phones.
A look at today's daily mobile activities also reflects Boomer participation in tomorrow's usage trends. Gen Y sends the most text messages (43% text on a daily basis), but Boomers are taking up this relatively new (to Americans) mode of communication as well. A little over one sixth (16%) of younger Boomers and one tenth of older Boomers text daily.
The Boomers are also not that far behind Gen Y when it comes to daily mobile Internet access. The research finds that 8% of Gen Y accesses the mobile Internet daily, while 4% of younger Boomers and 3% of older Boomers do so.
The survey also reveals that individuals of all ages find it hard to tear themselves away from their mobile device while driving. Although Gen Y is more apt to send and receive text messages from behind the wheel, significant numbers from all generations talk without a hands-free device. Despite laws against this behaviour in many states, an astounding 47% of Gen Y-ers, 42% of Gen X-ers, 37% of younger Boomers and 28% of older Boomers admit to engaging in this practice.
Finally, mobile offers good news for advertisers targeting consumers of all ages. The study's findings indicate that 40% of Gen Y-ers using the mobile Internet recall seeing some type of advertisement on their phone, and 25% of older mobile users recall seeing ads on their phone.
The InsightExpress study findings reveal that age is not a barrier to mobile use and acceptance. According to Joy Liuzzo, Director of Mobile Research at InsightExpress:
Mobile technology is pervasive, impacting the lives of consumers across generations. It's fascinating to see how all age groups are adopting new mobile technologies and fuelling usage trends. This widespread acceptance and appeal is precisely what makes the mobile market attractive to both B2B and B2C businesses."