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Forrester Predicts Healthy CE Retailing Future

Cambridge, Mass. — While consumers of all ages are willing to adopt new CE technologies, Generation Y and Generation Xers have distinct shopping and usage patterns, according to a recent study released by Forrester Research.

The study, called “The State of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2006,” was conducted based on a survey of nearly 67,000 North American households to determine the “state of consumer technology adoption.”

The study found consumers in each generation adopt new technologies like MP3 players and camera phones, but younger consumers’ ability to integrate and exploit these new technologies makes them different. Specifically, it found that of all of the households surveyed, most generations spent the majority of their time watching TV as compared to using a PC or the Internet; however, “Gen Yers,” people between the ages of 18-26, were found to use the PC and Internet the most. A breakdown of how many households are run by each generation showed Gen Yers are currently in the minority, at 7 percent, but their apparent difference in priorities could affect the CE retail atmosphere as they age and their sphere of influence increases in size, if their habits remain the same.

The study reports 45.6 percent of households shopped online in 2005 and that consumers aged 27-50 “account for the majority of these online shoppers.” It predicts that about 61 percent of households will be shopping on the Web by 2011 with Gen X, people between the ages of 27-40, households taking the lead at 20.7 percent. The survey also found that these younger shoppers are savvier than past generations as it reports “Gen Xers are more likely to have researched and purchased a product online in the past three months than all other generations.”

Regarding consumer intent, the survey found mobile phones were the most desired as 18 percent of respondents answered they were likely to purchase one in the next year. Desktop computers and digital still cameras tied for second place with 13 percent of respondents planning to purchase in each category within the next year.

The study features data with predictions on how a variety of devices will continue to integrate into households over the next five years. It predicts “U.S. adoption of laptops, HDTVs and camera phones will more than double by 2011.” In fact, most of the technologies mentioned stand to see an increase including broadband, home networking, PCs and mobile phones. On the contrary, the study also forecasts digital cameras “will top out at 80 percent of households, held in check by the rise of camera phones.”