We're #1 In HDTV, MP3s & Online Spending
It's bad enough that the security maniacs may be taking away Barack Obama's Blackberry and email accounts, but the new president may find himself even more out of touch with the people around him here than he would be anywhere else in the country.
That's because when it comes to technically courant behavior, such as owning high-def TVs or MP3 players or spending big money in online purchases, the Washington area leads the nation.
Nationwide, 23 percent of consumers own HD TV sets (almost doubling the technology's penetration in one year), but in the D.C. market, that number jumps to 31 percent--tops in the nation, according to Nielsen research. As you might expect, the cities that have moved most quickly to adopt HD TV are those with affluent and well-educated populations (after Washington, it's Boston, New York and Seattle at the top of the list.)
(But are people buying HD because of the hype or because it really alters their viewing experience? A market research firm finds that nearly one in five of those who have HD sets at home can't tell the difference between the digital clarity of high-def and the supposedly passe blur of ordinary video.)
Washington demonstrates its digital supremacy in ownership of MP3 players as well, topping the list of U.S. markets in that category, with 40 percent of households here owning a player, as compared to 30 percent nationwide.
Blogger David Leavitt noticed this pattern and wondered "why the District doesn't have a reputation of being technology geeks." Well, we certainly have a wonkish rep, one that grew more out of our emphasis on policy matters and our surfeit of excessively educated residents. The rest of the country, despite Al Gore's invention of the Internets and perhaps a vague sense that the web and AOL got their starts here, doesn't generally associate Washington with tech in the way that we do, say, Silicon Valley. That's partly because northern Virginia doesn't have much of a standalone reputation--"Dulles Corridor" doesn't exactly connote a whole lot in a pop culture sense. Other images of Washington tend to crowd out the Dulles tech and I-270 biotech realities.
Probably, more Americans perceive us as an expensive region than as a technologically advanced one. And that high-priced quality helps explain why we're at the top of yet another metric of digital devotion--we're #1 in percentage of residents who spend a lot on online purchases. A whopping 39 percent of us spent more than $500 in online purchases this year, compared to a nationwide figure of 25 percent, according to a study by Nielsen, Arbitron and Scarborough Research. Again, it's the best-educated markets that top the list; behind Washington are San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu.
In my house, we're sticking with the old-fashioned TV; it's a 15-year-old Sony and it works just fine. (Heck, I'm still amazed that they've got color pictures now.) So while most folks are fine-tuning the HD and spending their holiday week on hold waiting for the tech line to answer our questions about the wiring on the new machine, I'm going to fire up a colortini and watch the pictures fly through the air.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: spidey103 | December 23, 2008 9:35 AM
Posted by: bbcrock | December 23, 2008 9:53 AM
Posted by: jamesdg | December 23, 2008 10:35 AM
Posted by: Skeptic1 | December 23, 2008 11:46 AM
Posted by: jwc50 | December 23, 2008 11:49 AM
Posted by: TonyMostyn | December 23, 2008 12:23 PM
Posted by: cbmuzik | December 23, 2008 12:25 PM
Posted by: slackermom | December 23, 2008 1:02 PM
Posted by: DadWannaBe | December 23, 2008 2:35 PM
Posted by: ronjaboy | December 23, 2008 2:52 PM
Posted by: DadWannaBe | December 23, 2008 3:34 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.