New Pew Research shows mobile phones on the top of the ‘must have’ list for 18 to 29 yr olds

Posted on September 1, 2010


Not that this is news, but the research does show that its how you ask the question. Certainly landlines are still popular, but trending from the CDC indicates that landlines are heading south in households these days. Currently about 24% of all US households can only be contacted through the mobile phone, up from just over 20% three years ago.

(eMarketer) More than 79% of Americans have a mobile phone as of 2010, according to eMarketer estimates, making them a highly personal third screen in just about everyone’s pocket.

But when asked about their “necessities,” US consumers ranked cellphones squarely in the middle of various household devices and technologies, according to a May 2010 Pew Research Center survey.

Items that Are Necessities, May 2010 (% of US consumers)

Whether respondents felt they needed various devices, however, was sharply dependent on age. Millennials (consumers ages 18 to 29) were more than twice as likely to label cellphones a necessity compared with seniors (59% vs. 29%).

Consumer Electronics and Services that Are a Necessity, by Age, May 2010 (% of US consumers)

Home computers and high-speed internet also showed the same trend, with dependence decreasing as age increased. Meanwhile, landlines, televisions, cable service and flat-screen TVs showed the opposite pattern: Older respondents considered these items necessary at much higher rates.

It is well documented that cell phones are increasing in importance at the expense of landlines, and it is no surprise that younger consumers are leading the way. Going forward, these trends will most likely accelerate and expand to other realms. For instance, dependence on actual television sets may continue to decrease as many smartphones now include video capabilities. Even the need for a “home computer” is coming into question as current smartphones and other mobile devices such as tablets perform many basic personal computing tasks like web browsing, email and games.

Mobile phones play a huge part in the lives of young Americans and will have an increasingly dominant role for those of all ages. And with entertaining content a major draw—and revenue source—on bothmobile phones and tablets like the iPad, the mobile opportunity for publishers and marketers alike is wide open.