Online Habits of the “Always-On Consumer”

February 18, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Media & Entertainment | Social Media | Video

VPG-Use-of-Online-Channels-by-the-Always-On-Feb20143 in 4 “Always-On Consumers” (AOCs) visit social networks, while two-thirds frequent news and magazine websites and half visit company websites, according to a recent study [pdf] from Vivaldi Partners Group (VPG). The study analyzes the online behavior of this highly-connected group, made up of individuals who use at least 3 connected devices, go online multiple times a day, and go online from at least 3 different physical locations.

When they go online, AOCs most commonly seek out practical information for everyday situations (69%), while many are also gathering information about hobbies and personal interests (58%) and finding special offers, discounts and promotions (57%). Brands make their way into the mix, too: slightly more than half of AOCs are obtaining information about products and brands.

Not surprisingly, the content format that most AOCs access is news, articles and blog posts (57%). Of note, music (42%) is a more popular content format than online games (36%) and videos/video-on-demand (26%).

When it comes to the types of products that AOCs buy online, clothing (55%), books (47%) and electronics (43%) are the most commonly purchased by the always-on; these are also among the favorites for mobile shoppers in general.

The report indicates that some 48% of US consumers can be considered “Always-On” per the definition above, a figure that seems quite high in light of results from a Deloitte survey last year which found that 26% of Americans own a laptop, smartphone and tablet. Conceivably, the figure could be higher for the VPG survey because it measures other devices such as gaming consoles (60% of AOCs own one) – but it’s unlikely that many are shopping via their consoles. As such, while half of Americans may indeed own at least 3 connected devices (here are some more statistics on “super tech adopters“), it’s likely that fewer actually use all 3 to be “always on.”

Also, while the study says that AOCs are not different demographically from the typical consumer, they certainly seem to skew younger. Among the AOC sample (aged 16 and older), some 55% are aged 16-39; Census Bureau figures indicate that among the general population aged 16 and up, roughly 40% are in that age bracket.

About the Data: VPG’s data is based on a CAWI online survey fielded over 7 days among US consumers. Total sample size was 574 and representative of the US population (age, gender, working population).

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