Scarborough Research has publicly released data [pdf] showing the top local markets for digital media usage last year. The research shows that use of the internet for social networking was highest in Austin and Seattle (62% of each market’s population in the 30 days prior to the survey), while New Orleans topped the charts for newspaper website access (40%), and Austin led the pack for smartphone internet use (57%) and online radio listening (32%). Interestingly, some markets showed up across most of the top 10 listings.
Austin was the only local market to break the top 10 for social networking, newspaper site access (31%), smartphone internet use, and online radio listening. Close behind, though, Atlanta cracked 3 of those top 10 lists, with strong rates of social networking use (60%), smartphone internet access (52%) and online radio listening (28%). Washington, DC made the same 3 lists, with social networking use at 59%, smartphone internet access at 52%, and online radio listening at 25% of the population.
Noticing these trends (and including San Francisco – which broke into 2 of the top 10 lists), Scarborough lists some of the similarities of those 4 markets. They include:
- Affluence (% of adults with an annual household income of at least $250k), led by San Francisco, with an index of 297, followed by Washington, DC (285), Austin (126), and Atlanta (113);
- White-collar employment, led by Washington, DC (49%, compared to the national average of 38%), ahead of San Francisco (47%), Austin (46%), and Atlanta (41%);
- Incidence of children 17 and under living in the household, topped by Atlanta (45%, compared to the national average of 39%), and followed by Austin (41%), Washington, DC (41%), and San Francisco (38%);
- Educational attainment, led by Washington, DC, with 40% having a college education or higher (compared to the national average of 26%), ahead of San Francisco (39%), Austin (35%), and Atlanta (29%); and
- Generation X density, with Atlanta having 31% of its population in that generation (compared to the overall average of 27%), followed by Washington, DC (30%), San Francisco (30%), and Austin (29%).
The study notes, however, that there are reasons unique to each of these markets that may influence digital media usage, beyond the indicators listed above. Some of the “local flavors” unique to these markets are:
- Atlanta adults being 20% more likely to agree that they are more connected to their ethnic heritage than their parents;
- San Francisco adults being 30% more likely to agree that they consider themselves sophisticated, and 11% more likely to agree that they strive to achieve high social status;
- Austin adults being 11% more likely to agree that they like to live a lifestyle that impresses others; and
- Washington, DC adults being 27% more likely to agree completely that they often find themselves in a leadership position, and 23% more likely to agree completely that their goal is to make it to the top of their profession.