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Mobile phone ranked most used electronic device: Forrester

Forrester Research?s largest annual survey of Americans? technology adoption finds that 73 percent of the 37,000 respondents claim the mobile phone is the electronic device they use the most.

Fifty-eight percent said the second-most-widely-used device is their desktop PC and 56 percent said printers are the third-most-used device. The report also makes clear the generation gap in technology between younger and older Americans is widening.

?Marketers need to know which channels your consumers are using and then make the experience across these channels seamless,? said Jacqueline Anderson, consumer insights analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA. ?It?s all about researching your specific consumers to understand exactly which technology they?re using and why.

?The data in cross-channel media usage supports this,? she said. ?Develop target-specific messages. This is especially important when trying to get older consumers to interact with or adopt a new technology. Be sure you?re clear about how this will help them specifically.

?Don?t write off older consumers as technophobes. There may be a steeper learning curve for older consumers but if there?s a technology that meets their needs, these consumers will buy and spend big.?

The Forrester report highlights the continuing rise of mobile activities. For example, 23 percent of Americans ages 18-44 own a smartphone.

Additionally, 17 percent of all Americans now own a smartphone, up from 11 percent one year

Generation Y is particularly mobile savvy, with 85 percent of consumers in this demographic regularly sending or receiving SMS/text messages, compared to 57 percent of all U.S. consumers over the age of 18.

Twenty-seven percent of Generation Y consumers access social networks on their mobile devices, compared to 14 percent of all U.S. consumers.

Also, 37 percent access the mobile Internet, compared to 23 percent of all U.S. consumers.

?There is definitely a technology gap among the generations,? Ms. Anderson said. ?Similar to the digital divide that cropped up because of access issues, the technology gap will continue to grow and become a bigger issue especially as more content is accessed digitally.

?Also, the technology gap has implications on how consumers experience the world,? she said.

Both Generation Y and X consumers are the most likely to have smartphones and unlimited data plans, providing the tools needed to lead in mobile Internet adoption, according to Forrester.

Consumers ages 18-44 will continue to drive adoption of mobile features.

One thing is for certain, we will continue to see cross-channel engagements will continue to grow.

Whether it is consuming media across digital and traditional channels, or engaging with companies across channels, this trend will continue to skyrocket, especially as new, younger consumers join the mix.

The consumers who are in their tweens/teens now are going to be highly-mobile literate by the time they reach their prime spending years and will expect companies to be the same.

?The flip side to this is that the technology gap could increase if cross-channel experiences aren?t seamless,? Ms. Anderson said. ?Older consumers are much more comfortable searching for information online or offline versus through a mobile device.

?If the experiences and options for these two groups of consumers isn?t the same there could be big implications,? she said.

Final take
Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor of Mobile Marketer