Study: Gadgets make wealthy people’s lives ‘more stressful’

gold-ipad-studyThese days, most of us don’t have enough expendable cash to just go out and buy every hot new gadget that suits our fancy. It turns out, however, that that might not be such a bad thing for our general happiness. According to a recent study, affluent members of society feel that the more electronics they purchase, the more complicated their lives feel.

The study comes from research firm Ipsos Mendelsohn, which surveys households that earn more than $100,000 per year. When asked in January how their lives had changed over the past decade, a whopping 79 percent said that life had become increasingly “technology-infused.” That’s because it has.

Nearly all affluent members of society — 98 percent — spend at least 25 hours per week on the Internet. The upper-crust group also own an average of 3.5 TV sets, and about 75 percent own high-definition televisions. Two-thirds of those surveyed have a digital video recorder (DVR) connected to their TV.

“The most dramatic changes have been seen in the adoption of ‘new’ media platforms,” write Bob Shullman and Stephen Kraus, president and chief research and insights officer of Ipsos Mendelsohn, respectively, in a blog post on Ad Age. These platforms include smartphones — which “barely qualify as ‘new media’ any more,” say Shullman and Kraus — tablets and e-readers.

More than half of wealthy individuals own smartphones, and 92 percent own some kind of wireless or cellular device. Shullman and Kraus predict that, while only 14 percent own a tablet now, a full one-third of well-to-do people will own one within the next 12 months. The number of “Affluents” who own e-readers more than doubled between September 2010 and April 2011, from 13 percent to 23 percent.

Despite the gadget spending spree amongst those well off, their quality of life seems to have, if anything, degraded. After the “technology infused” option for how their lives had changed, the next most-picked options were “more complicated,” “more stressful” and “focused on finding ways to do more with less.” Fewer than half said their lives had become “more fun.”

Shullman and Kraus say that, with the direction we seem to be headed, the technology infusion will only get more intense, at least in the short term.

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