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Fewer Americans today have desktop computers, VCRs, and basic cellphones than they did in 2005, and more now own MP3 players, smartphones, and laptops, according to recent report by Gallup.

The survey of 1,031 US adults found ownership of laptops (64% own) and iPods/MP3 players (45%) is up most dramatically since 2005, when Gallup last conducted a similar poll.

Smartphones, which were not included in the earlier survey, have become common, with 62% of respondents saying they have one. Most respondents report that they now have Internet access, either at home through Wi-Fi (73%) or via smartphones.

Since 2005, VCR ownership has dropped rapidly (from 88% to 58%), as has desktop ownership (65% to 57%).

Ownership of cable TV (68%) has not changed since 2005, and essentially the same share of Americans own DVD or Blu-ray players (80%).

Generational Trends

  • The types of devices owned by the youngest adults surveyed (age 18-29) vary significantly from those of older respondents.
  • Smartphones are the most common devices with this younger group (88% own). The majority also have have wireless Internet access at home (83%) and laptops (79%).
  • Older Americans (65+) were most likely to report owning older forms of technology, including cable TV (74%) and VCRs (74%).
  • A majority of Americans age 65 and older own a basic cellphone (61%), whereas only 25% own a smartphone.

About the research: The report was based on data from a telephone survey conducted in December 2013 of 1,031 US adults. Roughly half of the respondents were reached on cellphones and half on landlines.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji