Which Generation Is Most Likely to Use PCs, Smartphones and Tablets? It’s Not Millennials.

June 5, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Connected Device Comparisons | Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Mobile Phone | Tablet | Youth & Gen X

It’s often assumed that Millennials are the most digital-heavy generation. However, recent data from Nielsen has demonstrated that Gen Xers are actually the heaviest social media users of any demographic group. Now, a new report [download page] from Nielsen shows the 35-49 crowd is leading the way in digital device access and usage.

In terms of weekly reach during the fourth quarter of 2016, Nielsen’s data shows that:

  • Smartphone reach was higher among the 35-49 bracket (96%) than the 18-34 one (91%);
  • PC reach was significantly greater among the 35-49 (59%) than 18-34 (44%) group; and
  • The use of tablets was far more widespread among 35-49-year-olds (57%) than 18-34-year-olds (35%).

Beyond that trio, Gen Xers also matched Millennials in weekly TV-connected device usage (54% each), while topping them in radio and TV use.

Gen Xers Spend More Time With Their Devices, Too

Interestingly enough, Gen Xers’ enthusiasm for digital devices extends to their frequency of use, too. Among users of each device, the 35-49 group topped the 18-34s in the average number of days per week they used their smartphones, tablets and PCs. The only devices which Millennial users relied on more frequently than Gen Xers were TV-connected devices.

When averaged out among the total population, Gen Xers averaged more time per week than Millennials using:

  • Smartphones (21 hours and 46 minutes versus 19 hours and 39 minutes);
  • PCs (9 hours and 44 minutes versus 5 hours and 53 minutes); and
  • Tablets (4 hours and 37 minutes versus 3 hours and 5 minutes).

(Smartphone and tablet use refers to app + web use.)

So while Millennials now spend more time using the web and apps on their smartphones than watching TV (a feat not matched by Gen Xers), it’s the older crowd that actually spends more time on both!

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