Age, Gender Play Key Roles in the Tablet and Smartphone Brand Wars

By: Press Release | Reynolds Journalism Institute

COLUMBIA, Mo. – As mobile media devices proliferate, age, gender and income are likely to have a greater influence on the brands people choose to own. Roger Fidler’s fourth report on the results of the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Mobile Media News Consumption Survey shows that the demographics and use preferences of smartphone and tablet owners are generally specific to the brands of devices they use.  

Fidler’s analysis also reveals significant differences between owners of small and large tablets. One of his key findings is that women are more likely than men to own small tablets, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire, whereas a majority of large tablets, such as the Apple iPad, are owned by men.
 
“While many have wished for one mobile media device that would do everything and satisfy everyone, their wish is unlikely to be realized,” said Fidler, who is director of digital publishing at RJI. “The trend clearly is toward owning multiple mobile devices and using them in different ways. However, as the number of device choices grow, age, gender and income are likely to become more predictive of the types of devices and brands people choose to own.”  

RJI’s findings also reveal that owners of Apple’s iPhones and Blackberry smartphones are typically older and more affluent than owners of Android-powered smartphones, and that they are more likely to use their mobile media devices for consuming news. The study showed that almost half of iPhone and Blackberry users subscribed to at least one newspaper or newsmagazine, while less than a third of Android users subscribed. For news organizations, this suggests that iPhone and Blackberry smartphone owners are likely to be the most receptive audiences for their mobile products.

Fidler and Ken Fleming, associate director of research at RJI, conducted the 2012 Media News Consumption Survey using RJI’s Center for Advanced Social Research (CASR). The staff of CASR interviewed more than 1,000 individuals randomly selected from phone number lists between January 17 and March 25, 2012. More than half of the participants used a cell phone. The questionnaire was designed to gather information from both users and non-users of mobile media devices; however more than half of the questions were designed specifically for device owners.

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