Gadgets R Us: Dependence Reigns, So Does E-Product Research

Society is in the thrall of digital media devices, according to new surveys from Burst Media and Ipsos Loyalty, which examined consumer attitudes toward mobile gadgets and gaming consoles, respectively. Indeed, the findings of these separate studies suggest an obsession and dependency verging on addiction, echoing other recent surveys of mobile device usage and Internet behaviors in general.

Burst Media's survey of adults who own a smartphone, BlackBerry, e-reader, or tablet-style computers like the iPad found that 40% say they are "heavy users" -- defined as "always connected" -- versus 25% who are "moderate" and 28% who consider themselves "light" users.

Likewise, one-third said they use their devices to communicate or access the Internet at least once an hour, while 73% said they use them at least once per day. Of this latter group, 61% of all users said they use their device every day to consume Web content, with 20% doing so at least once an hour.

A majority -- 58% -- use their devices every day to write or send text messages, with 26% doing so at least once an hour, while 55% use their devices every day to send emails, with 22% doing so at least once an hour. 54% use them to listen to music at least once a day, and 22% at least once an hour.



Some 43% use social media -- including Facebook or Twitter -- at least once a day, with 17% doing so at least once an hour, and 45% read books, magazines, or other digital publications at least once a day, with 13% doing so at least once an hour.

Of special interest for marketers: 34% of people who own one of these devices said they use it to research a product or service at least once a day, with 8% doing so hourly. What's more, one-quarter said the devices have improved how they conduct this kind of research; 48% said they are receptive (or at least don't mind) ads and coupons delivered via their devices.

Also this week, a separate study from Ipsos Loyalty found that gaming consoles now rival cars in the competition for consumers' affections.

The Ipsos survey ranked a number of product categories according to consumer satisfaction and loyalty levels, measured on an index created by Ipsos. It found that gaming consoles came out on top with an Ipsos satisfaction rating of 8.31 -- just ahead of autos at 8.3, followed by banks at 8.09 and hotels at 8.02.

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