College Students Among Biggest Consumers of Emerging Technologies, Consumer Electronics

Today's students are truly carrying a digital backpack, as college students own a wide range of digital devices compared with the overall adult population.  The vast majority of undergrads possess a laptop and an iPod or MP3 player.  In fact, nearly a quarter (27%) of students surveyed listing their laptop as the most important item in their bag — almost three times the number of students who chose textbooks (10%), according to new research from CourseSmart and Wakefield Research. 

The findings further reveal that students are completely dependent on technologies — eReaders, Smartphones, laptops and more — to get through their daily college routine. Nearly all of the students surveyed (98%) own a digital device. And 38% of students surveyed said that they could not go more than 10 minutes without checking in with their tech device — about the same amount of time it takes to walk to class. Largely based on the fact that technology helps students learn more efficiently, 85% of students reported that technology saves them time when studying—an average of two hours per day.

Given this shift in behavior towards technological dependence, it's unsurprising that almost three-​quarters (73%) of students surveyed claim they would not be able to study without using some form of technology. Additionally, it is clear that laptops and Smartphones are two types of devices that students are using to further their academic potential. Nearly half (48%) of all students who own a tech device frequently read eTextbooks and 63% have read an eTextbook on their device at least once. In fact, of the 91% of students who said they failed to complete required reading before classes, about half (46%) reported they would be more likely to complete their reading if it was in a digital format.


According to the survey, eReaders and eTextbooks are some of the emerging technologies helping students save time while still being effective. While 69% said an eTextbook is easier to carry than a traditional textbook, 61% cited that eTextbooks make it far easier to search within a text (thus saving time), 60% mentioned that eTextbooks save them money, and 55% said that they are easier to read "on the go."

Additionally, new media options are increasingly engaging students, who said they use tools such as CourseSmart (39%), videos and podcasts (24%) and iTunes (12%) to access study materials from a professor — a far cry from the library card catalogues and encyclopedias of previous generations.  Students are also spending their time using email (89%) and school Web sites (83%) for gathering course materials from their professors.

The dependence on new and emerging technologies is good news for marketers, as they can tap into these channels in order to reach this audience online or via mobile anytime and anywhere.

[Source:  Study conducted by Wakefield Research for CourseSmart.  1 June 2011.  Web.  25 Aug. 2011.]