IPad, other high-tech gadget trends differ by region
By David Lieberman, USA TODAY
New Yorkers love iPads and other hot, new gadgets. Folks in Massachusetts are partial to e-readers such as Amazon's Kindle. Folks in Phoenix, however, seem to like their sturdy old tube TVs and VCRs just fine.
These are a few of the findings from the first "Gadget Census" — a survey to determine regional patterns in consumer electronics buying — conducted by Retrevo, a website for tech shoppers.
"When you think about how much gadgets affect our lives and connect us to one another, it only made sense that someone should track ownership and usage," Retrevo co-founder Manish Rathi says. "We will do so every year."
Having such data is "fun to know, and manufacturers and megastores know it's important," says Richard Doherty, director of the Envisioneering Group, a tech consulting firm.
Retrevo quizzed more than 7,500 people about their tech tastes. The results, calculated to show how sales per household in a region compare to the national average, show differences as distinct as accents and cuisines:
•IPads. New York state beats the U.S. average by 52% for owning Apple's new tablet computer.
That surprised Rathi: "We expected California," Apple's home and a tech epicenter, to lead.
But Apple's popular in the Big Apple among the rich and fashion-conscious, including those in the media and ad industries being reshaped by such devices. Rathi also notes that "more people use public transportation" in New York, giving them time to use iPads to read, watch videos or catch up on e-mail.
•E-readers. Massachusetts residents are 49% more likely than average to own a dedicated digital reader. Here, too, Rathi sees the logic: The state has lots of readers at its many prestigious colleges, including Harvard, Amherst and Brandeis.
•HDTV. Some results mystify Rathi, though, including the data that show Maryland has the highest concentration of high-definition TV sets, at 13% ahead of the national average.
•Point-and-shoot cameras. This is another head-scratcher. Michigan is on top, with 8% more point-and-shoot camera owners than elsewhere — narrowly beating Maryland.
•Laptop computers. Colorado residents are 13% more likely to have a portable computer, Retrevo finds, putting it slightly ahead of Georgia and Minnesota.