71% of Baby Boomers Use a Laptop/​PC Daily

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Generational divides exist in consumers‰Ûª screen preferences, Millward Brown Digital finds in recent survey results demonstrating that Baby Boomers are sticking with laptops and PCs over smartphones and tablets, while Millennials tend to be more smartphone-​centric, particularly for activities such as checking sports scores or the weather, according to Marketing Charts' article, "Generational Differences in Consumers‰Ûª Screen Preferences."

Marketing Charts reports, "It‰Ûªs worth noting that Boomers‰Ûª general preference for the laptop/​PC comes despite the survey being fielded exclusively among respondents who own or have access to a smartphone or tablet."

"Interestingly, while Millennials tend to focus more on their smartphones, there are some mitigating results:"

  • "On the path to purchase, these mobile device-​toting youth still pick up the laptop or PC first when shopping for financial services, consumer electronics and CPG"
  • "Millennials are as likely to have used a TV yesterday as a smartphone (77% each), a fairly surprising result that recalls research from 2014 showing that millennials still spend more time with the TV than with any other device"

The Millward Brown Digital study,åÊ"Generations Divided on Device Preferences," provides new insight into Millennials, who have become the "mobile-​first" generation and are more smartphone-​centric than older generations.

Looking at variances in device use, 77% of Millennials use a smartphone daily; that figure drops to 60% for Gen X, and 42% for Baby Boomers.

Mobile use among Millennials comes at the expense of TV and laptops: 77% of Millennials watch TV daily, compared with 86% of Gen X, and 91% of Baby Boomers.

Similarly, 58% of Millennials use a laptop/​PC daily, compared with 67% for Gen X, and 71% for Baby Boomers. Tablet usage remains lower than other screens, with Gen X slightly leading the pack. Screen size, device speed and performance were cited as the key factors influencing screen usage.

"Millennials and Baby Boomers have adopted different screen habits," said Joline McGoldrick, Research Director at Millward Brown Digital. "Understanding these differences is critical for successful targeted marketing."

The study also shows that task length impacts screen preference: 81% of consumers across generations prefer to complete 5‑minute tasks via smartphone. That number drops to 43% for tasks that take between 10–20 minutes ‰ÛÒ indicating even mobile Millennials prefer laptop/​PC for many high-​involvement tasks.

Millward Brown Digital identifies key findings:

  • Entertainment: Millennials spend more time consuming content on new media platforms such as Netflix and YouTube while Boomers are more TV-​centric. Gen Xers continue to fall in between.
  • Shopping Behaviors: When it comes to shopping, screen preferences vary by industry.

"With such marked differences across generations, marketers need to ensure that their marketing investments match their audience's screen preference." says McGoldrick. "This investment has to be for the present and for the future. So while audiences are shifting to mobile, for now they still rely on laptops and PCs for many content and purchase activities."

According to AudienceSCAN, 30% of Americans are planning to buy a laptop or desktop computer this year. 55% of them are men. 39% are renters. 44% enjoy playing video games in their free time, and another 21% like working with technology/​gadgets.

They could be looking for their computers in pawn shops, since 19.5% of this audience bought or sold an item in a pawn shop in the past year. Try advertising to these shoppers on the silver screen ‰ÛÒ 21% took action after seeing an ad at the movie theater in the past month. Or, go the web route ‰ÛÒ 35% started an online search after stumbling on some Internet advertising in the past year.

There could be a sports connection here as well: 80% try to support companies that sponsor a favorite sports team or athlete. And they might just buy a hi-​def TV while they're picking up that laptop, as 42% plan to buy one of those too. Don't forget about cross-​selling them on a smartphone! 45% plan on getting a new smartphone or smartphone upgrade.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.