In Generations and Their Gadgets, Pew explores how age groups in the U.S. tend to use their tech devices. It defines six generations ranging from age 18 to 75-plus.
“Many devices have become popular across generations, with a majority now owning cell phones, laptops and desktop computers. Younger adults are leading the way in increased mobility, preferring laptops to desktops and using their cell phones for a variety of functions, including internet, email, music, games, and video.
• Cell phones are by far the most popular device among American adults. Some 85% of adults own cell phones, and 90% of all adults—including 62% of those age 75 and older—live in a household with at least one working cell phone.
• Desktop computers are most popular with adults ages 35-65, and Millennials are the only generation that is more likely to own a laptop computer or netbook than a desktop: 70% own a laptop, compared with 57% who own a desktop.
• Almost half of all adults own an iPod or other mp3 player, but these are still most popular with Millennials—74% of adults ages 18-34 own an mp3 player, compared with only 56% of the next oldest generation, Gen X (ages 35-46).
• Game consoles are uniformly popular with all adults ages 18-46, 63% of whom own these devices.
• Overall, 5% of adults own an e-book reader, and 4% own an iPad or other tablet computer.
Additionally, about one in 11 (9%) adults do not own any of the devices we asked about, including 43% of adults age 75 and older.
The youngest generation does not lead in all the gadgets we asked about. Gen X is also very similar to Millennials in ownership of certain devices, such as game consoles, and members of Gen X are also more likely than Millennials to own a desktop computer.