Usage of “second screens”–tablet, smartphone or computer—is prevalent among all U.S. adults surveyed by Harris Interactive for online search marketing agency The Search Agency, but highest among Generations X and Y.

Looking “to move beyond the TV screen,” 78% of the survey’s 2,000 + respondents overall are using their computers to get more information about products advertised on TV that catch their interest, while 66% of tablet owners are turning to those devices to do so.

Age matters when it comes to device preferences: 71% of tablet owners ages 18-34 and 81% ages 35-44 are turning to tablets to search for more product information as compared to 54% of those ages 45-54 and 56% ages 55+, according to the survey results. While a higher percentage of married people own tablets, single people (76%) are more likely to use them to search for information about products they’ve seen on TV. That compares to 63% for married tablet owners.

The Search Agency also found that users are turning to their mobile devices even when “a computer is within arm’s reach”: 59% of smartphone owners have used them to search even when their computers are nearby. That jumps to 74% among smartphone owners ages 18-34.

In terms of usage habits, “multi-tasking, hyper-connected Millenials…do not separate work and play as much as their older counterparts,” analysis of the survey results revealed. Among those ages 18-34, 53% were more likely to make an online purchase during the day as opposed to at night. Just 42% of those 55+ were more likely to buy online during the day than at night.

In addition, 52% of respondents ages 18-34 were more likely to browse social networks during daylight hours than at night as compared to 41% of respondents ages 35-44, 30% among those 45-54 and 30% of those 55 and older.

Examining comparisons between single and married individuals, The Search Agency found that at 49%, more single people own smartphones than married people, for whom the corresponding number was 43%. On the other hand, more married people own tablets: 45% compared to singles’ 36%.

“So much of what we see from the study, and the marketplace in general, is how time of day and other situational factors impact behavior. Everything from age to proximity to your television or other devices impacts how and when you reach for your computer or mobile device to shop, search or get social,” Mike Solomon, Search Agency VP, marketing strategy, noted. “It’s important that advertisers consider how to match content and experiences with the time of day and specific device in order to best engage users.

“For many of the findings, percentages zigzagged between age groups, rather than plotting a consistent bell curve—indicating how factors such as generational differences, disposable income, and the influence of children on their parents impact results,” he stated. “Married people are often older, have more disposable income and can more easily justify superfluous pieces of technology, such as tablets. At the same time, baby boomers are often more tech-literate than their slightly younger counterparts—likely because their millennial children are pushing them to use new tools and devices.”

Image courtesy of flickr user joeyanne.

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