updated 05:55 pm EDT, Mon September 27, 2010
Mac users hooked, Android uses "techier"
A new Gadget Census study, released by Retrevo, has looked into substantive differences between habits of iPhone, Android and Blackberry users on both their handsets and other high-tech devices. Android users were deemed the most "cutting edge," with iPhone users positioned as young, satisfied consumers and Blackberry owners as older and tending to hang on to older technology for longer periods of time. Mac owners tended to have some PCs in the house, while PC-dominated households rarely had Macs around.
Perhaps the least surprising aspect of the study was evidence that Mac owners tend to be very satisfied with Apple products and are much more likely to buy more of such products than any other group. In households where Mac computers were primary, owners were three times more likely to have iPhones and six times more likely to have iPads than in households where Windows was the primary OS used. Mac owners were also more likely to have some Windows computers, rather than the other way around; Retrevo suggests this may be an effect of the trend of Windows users "upgrading" by switching to Macs.
When it comes to smartphones, the three main OS groups had distinct differences between them. Media consumption (watching and buying video and music) was the mainstay of iPhone owners, who also tended to be the youngest group in the study (significantly more so than Blackberry owners).
Android users were very likely to be Windows or Linux users, with 45 percent of those surveyed having a netbook, and perceived as being more technologically-minded by virtue of being even less likely to have a traditional "landline" phone -- 31 percent report not having one, versus 23 percent of iPhone and Blackberry users. Android users also reported being slightly less likely to read books (14 percent compared to 12 percent), and less likely to recycle, but significantly more likely to use their Android device as a GPS unit, and more likely to own a standalone e-reader. Overall, Retrevo paints Android users as the most "techie" of the three groups.
Blackberry owners were seen as the least advanced in electronics use, with 60 percent reporting they still used CRT-based televisions, and 23 percent saying they got most of their music from radio. The survey also found that Blackberry has wider adoption in non-urban areas, users being 26 percent more likely than iPhone owners to live in areas where e-waste recycling is unavailable (generally taken to mean "most major cities").
Owners of the iPhone come off as lovers of e-books, movies and music, with substantially higher purchases in all three categories over Android and Blackberry users. While iPhone users tend to use iTunes for a lot of online purchases, they also rented more movies from traditional services like Blockbuster, watched more TV online, and were more likely to read traditional books than either of the other two groups.
Retrevo thinks the trends reflected in the study tend to favor Apple, as increasing numbers are adopting Apple products, making them very likely to buy additional Apple products. The study reached no conclusion on which devices were the most likely to lead consumers into the "Apple eco-system."
The study was conducted from March to July of this year and involved over 7,500 users across age, gender and location lines. Retrevo says the survey has a +/- 4 percent margin of error.