Home Who Are The “Digitally Savvy?”

Who Are The “Digitally Savvy?”

A new report put about by consumer and media research firm Scarborough Research has revealed some interesting information about the section of the U.S. population that’s being called the “digitally savvy.” These are the consumers who are more likely to own high-tech items like DVRs, satellite radios, and VoIP phones and are more likely to engage in Internet activities that include blogging, downloading music, and other web 2.0 activities. In other words – they’re us.

Where They Live

What might be the most surprising reveal to come out of this report are the locations of the most digitally savvy cities in the U.S. Austin, Texas was number one, where 12% of the surveyed respondents were classified as being digitally savvy – nearly twice as likely as the national average. San Francisco, on the other hand, only came in at #10, beat out by other California cities like San Diego and Sacramento, as well as other large U.S. cities like Las Vegas (#2), New York (#9), and D.C. (#5), among others.

Who They Are

Additionally, the report found that the Digitally Savvy were a luxury-oriented group – more likely to own second homes, shop in high-end stores, travel more often, and drive expensive cars. This is probably due to the fact that they were 132% more likely to have a household income of $150K or more. They also skewed towards being young (77% under 44) and male (56%).

These figures also seem to jive with the earlier reports on today’s iPhone owners. Like this “Digitally Savvy” group, iPhone owners were also richer than average – 40% higher than the U.S. median.

Both groups tend to be early adopters of new technology, mainly because they can afford to do so. Unlike the general population, who needs to wait for prices to come down before purchasing newer technology, this group has no problem dropping hundreds of dollars to obtain the latest gadget.

Looking Beyond the Digitally Savvy

According to Gary Meo, SVP, Print and Digital Media Services at Scarborough Research, this is an important group to monitor because their shopping patterns could “presage behaviors of consumers across the country.”

While that may be true to a point, simply watching the behaviors of a group of rich, predominantly male, young adults for the latest trends would be mean missing out on other important trends that could also be capitalized on by those looking to tap into the currently unmet needs of a particular group. This is how the Wii became a big hit, for example – by introducing a platform for casual gaming that didn’t focus on primarily guy-centric, intensive, and often violent titles.

If the technology industry was to look beyond the early adopters – a group clearly not representative of the whole population – would there be an opportunity here as well to come up with the next new revolutionary idea or service? Unfortunately, we may not know, as a good portion of the industry itself is the early adopter crowd, developing for the early adopter crowd, blogging about the early adopter crowd, and selling to the early adopter crowd. In fact, the apps that have broken through and gone on to mainstream success have some decidedly un-early adopter-like features – like MySpace with its cut-and-paste HTML backgrounds or Facebook’s lack of RSS for the News Feeds. In fact, it seems that the key for mainstream success is to not cater solely to the most digitally savvy of users, after all.

Image credits: Fast Hands by laffy4k; Steve Jobs by DuneChaser

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