Following the confirmation that tablets are mainly used to fill those pesky gaps in stimulation they still haven't managed to resolve in TV programming, comes another report revealing that affluent consumers (households earning over $100,000 pa) are adopting mobile devices rapidly, but that they're a mixed blessing.
Writing in Ad Age, two execs from market researcher Ipsos Mendelsohn revealed that the adoption of tablets and e-readers among affluents is growing rapidly, with twice the proportion of them owning one than a year ago. Rather surprisingly, smartphone adoption is increasing more slowly, despite there still only being 50 percent penetration into the affluent market.
When asked how their lives had changed over the past decade, the number one response was that they had become more ‘technology infused', but that life had also become ‘more complicated' and ‘more stressful'. The authors conclude that having all these new ways to connect to the rest of the world is not necessarily a positive thing.
The general assumption with tech innovations is that the filling of ‘down time' with ‘productivity' is a good thing. If we're able to be getting something done at all times then we're, in theory, more productive. But set against that must be both the likelihood that trying to do ten things at once means each thing will be done less well, and the basic human need to switch off and recharge our batteries.
There's also a degree of vanity and competitiveness involved here too. Many people like to be the first to retweet a piece of breaking news, or be seen to be answering emails (with the boss Cced, of course) at two in the morning.
But the other trend that may be unfolding in these perma-stimulated times is a degree of acquired ADHD. Are we in danger of training our minds to be intolerant of down time and becoming addicted to being plugged into the matrix at all times. How long before Ipsos does a study into the rapid uptake of Ritalin among affluents?