Online Consumers Still Not Into Blogs, RSS

Forrester Research‘s long-running consumer technology survey finds that very few online consumers read blogs or use RSS—six percent and two percent, respectively—but that so-called "technology optimists" with both a laptop and a home network watched three hours less television per week than offline households. (Perhaps these folks were just trying to download and install firmware updates?)

Forrester Research’s 2005 North American Consumer Technographics study surveyed more than 68,000 North American households on a wide variety of technological brands and topics (600 questions on almost 350 brands in 12 industries) to learn how consumers perceive, use, and adopt technology in their daily lives. The 2005 update is the eighth year Forrester has conducted the survey. In researching consumer attitudes, the study classifies respondents as "tech optimists" who feel technology makes their lives more enjoyably and "tech pessimists" who are indifferent or even hostile to technology. According to the survey, pessimists slightly outnumber optimists.

Overall, the survey shoes that adoption of consumer electronics and the Internet are still growing quickly and are likely to continue doing so for the remainder of the decade. By 2010, according to Forrester, 62 percent of U.S. households (71 million) will have broadband Internet access; similarly, by the end of the decade the survey predicts 53 percent of U.S. households will own a laptop, 48 percent will research and shop online, 41 percent will have a home network, and 37 percent will use a DVR.

Conversely, Forrester’s survey indicates some currently-hot online trends may not even be tepid out there in the "real world:" Forrester found only six percent of today’s online consumers read blogs, and a scant two percent use RSS—and many of those users represent early-adopting "tech optimists" who are three times more likely to use streaming media or engage in peer-to-peer file sharing. However, an overwhelming 70 percent of current online consumers use the Internet to research purchases…just not using blogs or RSS feeds, apparently.

Forrester also finds that Internet usage comes at the expense of time consumers spend with other forms of media. Households of "tenured nomadic networkers" who have laptops and who have had Internet access in their networked homes for at least five years watch just 10.8 hours of television each week, compared to the 14 hours viewed by an offline household. U.S. households with broadband Internet access watch an average of 12 hours of television per week. However, while television-viewing and newspaper use seem to decline with Internet access, other media such radio listening and video game-playing do not seem to decline with increased Internet access.