Update: An Excel file containing our recent generations data (with ages as of 2011) is available for download here. For more charts and spreadsheets about gadget trends, see the Device Ownership section of our Trend Data page.
Many devices have become popular across generations, with a majority now owning cell phones, laptops and desktop computers. Younger adults are leading the way in increased mobility, preferring laptops to desktops and using their cell phones for a variety of functions, including internet, email, music, games, and video.
- Cell phones are by far the most popular device among American adults. Some 85% of adults own cell phones, and 90% of all adults—including 62% of those age 75 and older—live in a household with at least one working cell phone.
Desktop computers are most popular with adults ages 35-65, and Millennials are the only generation that is more likely to own a laptop computer or netbook than a desktop: 70% own a laptop, compared with 57% who own a desktop.
Almost half of all adults own an iPod or other mp3 player, but these are still most popular with Millennials—74% of adults ages 18-34 own an mp3 player, compared with only 56% of the next oldest generation, Gen X (ages 35-46).
Game consoles are uniformly popular with all adults ages 18-46, 63% of whom own these devices.
Overall, 5% of adults own an e-book reader, and 4% own an iPad or other tablet computer.
Additionally, about one in 11 (9%) adults do not own any of the devices we asked about, including 43% of adults age 75 and older.
The youngest generation does not lead in all the gadgets we asked about. Gen X is also very similar to Millennials in ownership of certain devices, such as game consoles, and members of Gen X are also more likely than Millennials to own a desktop computer. Read more...
About the Survey
This report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between August 9 and September 13, 2010, among a sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish, on landlines and cell phones. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=2,065), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. More information is available in the Methodology section