I recently saw a Pew Research report on gadget ownership. The graph below says it all.
Tablet PC ownership is currently only 4%, but I expect that will skyrocket next year as the android versions hit the market. Personally, I’m expecting cell phones to merge with these devices soon. Short of that, companies like Verizon will be offering data plans for tablets like the Samsung Galaxy as early as next month.
As an aside, care should be taken when assuming who owns the latest devices. Deeper in the report it highlighted that African-Americans are more likely than others to own an eReader (7% vs. 5% for Whites and 4% for Hispanics) and Hispanics are twice as likely to own a tablet than the other groups (6% vs. 3%).
When I was trying to explore what “ownership” meant (family owns vs. owns unit for self – which I could never find out), I saw the survey response rates: 13.6% for the landline sample and 17.0% for the cell phone sample. That rather surprised me. What wasn’t a surprise was the level of cell phone ownership.
Collectively, these findings suggest to me the following:
- As phones (and tablets) come to do more and more, and we see continued consolidation in devices, it’s important that we ask how we can best reach each respondent. For example, texting a focus group reminder notice may be much better than sending an email (if email isn’t checked often).
- Asking someone how they’re most likely to access the Internet should become a routine question. If it’s on their cell, online screeners or email blasts should be optimized for that format. (Same thing with the tablets.)
- I’d like to see more on best practices based on what’s working. Text reminders might work, but slef-administered screening via a smartphone might not.
Of course, two years from now, the issues will be new and different!
How do you think these findings might impact recruiting for qualitative research? Or conducting qualitative research for that matter?