More than one way to stay technologically connected

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We are some “smart cookies” as my grandma would say. No, really. Even the most technologically challenged among us (or laggards, which is the industry lingo for late bloomers) is connected in some way to at least one technological toy. Yes, you, too. More than likely—at the very least—you use a computer and a mobile phone (a Smartphone if it allows you to do anything other than the basic “talk” feature). So, yes, you’re connected! Maybe even technologically savvy. As for me, even though I’m not the first one out of the gate with the newest toys I admit that (even though it took me a minute to get the hang of it) I am now officially addicted to my iPhone4. The Apps on this thing are amazing. I can actually choose an OPI nail polish color and see what it will look like against my caramel skin coloring while sitting through a boring meeting (which is absolutely something I would never do, of course. I’m just saying there’s an App available should I ever need such a diversion).

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The fact is consumers are increasingly using connected devices such as computer tablets (e.g. Apple iPads), eBook readers (e.g. Amazon Kindles) and other devices. I know this because I work for the Nielsen Company, the largest marketing research company in the world.

We measure consumer behavior trends—what consumers buy and what we watch, including mobile and online services. And, I love sharing this information with you because knowledge is always power. (And, I want you to always be cognizant that African-Americans bring $87 billion dollars in buying power to the table. This gives us economic clout.) The Nielsen Company recently released a Connected Devices Playbook as part of our fourth State of the Media report.

Interestingly, the latest gadgets have added to the consumption of more “traditional” forms of media delivery such as the home computer, books and game consoles.

While it sometimes seems that people are using iPads everywhere, apparently the iPad market is still in the embryonic stage and iPad owners are largely (48 percent) early adopters. Early adopters, roughly 13.5 percent of the population, are defined as those who tend to jump on the new technology bandwagon before the rest of us. (We all know folks who have got to be the first to have the newest gadget, right?) Apple iPad users are 65 percent male and 63 percent are under the age of 35. Ok, so I don’t fall into either of those categories, but I’m hoping to have an iPad under my tree come Christmas morning. Oh wait—I’m Santa in my single-mother household; so I guess I’d better get to shopping and wrapping, huh?

iPad owners also tend to own other connected items such as eBook readers, Smartphones, portable game players, portable media players and netbooks.

They are college educated (51 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher) and 25 percent earn $100K or more. Ninety-one percent of this progressive group have downloaded and purchased Apps for their iPads with the most popular Apps being Games (62 percent), Books (54 percent) and Music (50 percent).

Because iPads have a larger screen size than Smartphones, its consumers spend more time (therefore greater engagement) with video (movies, TV shows) and “print” (magazines, news) content. The research shows that all connected device owners are comfortable with mobile advertising; but iPad users are much more receptive and more likely to make a purchase after viewing an ad on their device.

Amazon Kindle users are slightly wealthier and better educated than iPad users.

According to our survey, 28 percent of Kindle users have incomes of $100K or more and 57 percent have a bachelors or advanced degree. (Full disclosure here: one of the wonderful perks of working for the Nielsen Company is being given tech toys to try. I was given a Kindle in January. January. Being the laggard that I am I finally broke down and figured out how to use it yesterday. But I accidentally hit the wrong button and it took me a whopping eight minutes to get back to the page I was on. If I don’t get the hang of it soon, I may have to revert to my old school ways and start buying books again—where by flipping physical pages I can get back to my spot within mere seconds. For now I’m off to a meeting—where there will be absolutely no playing with my fun apps!

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