New Harris Poll Shows Personal Computer As Home’s Digital Nerve Center

ROUND ROCK, Texas, and REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 25, 2002 — As holiday shopping revs up this week, new results from The Harris Poll ®
show that many consumers in the United States and Europe will be giving and receiving digital gadgets this year, and many view the personal computer as the most critical piece of technology in the modern home.

Sponsored by Dell and Microsoft Corp., the 2002 International Digital Lifestyle Study of 1,500 consumers shows that they view the computer as the new center for family entertainment, and the digital springboard that helps connect them with a broad range of new technologies, from digital cameras and cell phones to home security and lighting systems. Kids who twenty years ago were the only family members who could program the VCR are now, as adults, integrating digital technology into every aspect of their homes.

Though they may own different digital technology products, half (50 percent) of U.S. computer owners and 41 percent of European ones say their computer is more important than any other piece of technology in their home. Younger people give even more emphasis to the computer, as 57 percent of Americans 18–34 years of age view the computer as most important, vs. 48 percent of 35–49 year olds and 44 percent of those over 50.

“We’ve seen a major shift in consumer behavior, and in today’s digital lifestyle, using the computer is where the action is. It has become the virtual nerve center of the home. Consumers are using digital technology for both entertainment and convenience — from editing digital video to keeping in touch with e-mail,”
said John Hamlin, vice president and general manager of Dell’s U.S. Consumer Business.

Increased Confidence

According to consumers, there also is a direct link between their comfort and skill working with computers. The survey shows that more than four in five (84 percent) of U.S. computer owners and 69 percent of European owners say that using a computer has boosted their confidence in using other technology.

This confidence can translate to additional purchases. Almost 70 percent of U.S. computer owners and more than half (52 percent) of European computer owners say they are likely to buy a new digital technology product this holiday season. This trend echoes what experts view as a generational shift in adopting digital technology.

“In the 1970’s, TV became the technology that colonized America’s leisure time,” said Dr. Ellen Wartella, Dean of the University of Texas College of Communication and a renowned expert on the effects of mass media.
“This survey suggests that computers will soon be in that position, and this will happen quickly since young people today are the digital generation and even more quick to use computers in their leisure time than their parents.”

Digital Integration

Consumers are becoming more familiar with the new digital devices that are expanding the capabilities of their personal computers — everything from digital cameras and CD burners to digital video recorders. The computer is now being used to control television and stereos, run security systems, and order groceries. The trend is growing, with seven in ten U.S. (72 percent) and European (69 percent) owners expecting to integrate their computer into more aspects of their daily lives.

To provide a resource for consumers to get the most from the combined power of digital devices and computers, Microsoft®
has created a new series of web sites with informative and entertaining how-to videos, and tips and tricks for both novice and experienced users at .

“Digital cameras and digital music players really spring to life when they are connected to personal computers,”
said Rogers Weed, vice president of Windows Product Management at Microsoft.
“And we made easy integration with music and photo devices a priority. PC owners, especially those running Windows® XP, who aren’t using their digital devices to take advantage of the music, photography and communications features of their computers are missing half the fun.”

This latest Harris Poll also suggests that the Internet is continuing to make its way from office to living room, as consumers are spending significant amounts of time online. Particularly in the United States, where 50 percent of computer owners spend more than six hours per week on the Internet at home and 28 percent say they spend more than 11 hours per week online, excluding the time they spend e-mailing.

“While desktops, notebooks, cell phones and handhelds are standard digital fare these days, this survey clearly shows consumers want even more of their lifestyles to be digital. It’s in the kitchen, in refrigerators and ovens. It’s in home entertainment systems, in cars and in laundry rooms,” Hamlin said. “It is of critical importance that companies understand consumer needs as they adopt and integrate more new technologies into their families’ lives.”

About the Survey

Harris Interactive conducted a total of 1,500 interviews among computer and digital technology owners (age 18+) in August and September, 2002. Telephone interviews were conducted among 1,000 owners in the United States and 100 owners in each of the following countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for the U.S. sample, and plus or minus 4.4 percentage points for the European sample. Complete survey findings can be found at .

About Dell

Dell Computer Corporation (Nasdaq:
) is a premier provider of products and services required for customers worldwide to build their information-technology and Internet infrastructures. The company’s revenue for the past four quarters totaled $33.7 billion. Dell, through its direct business model, designs, manufactures and customizes products and services to customer requirements, and offers an extensive selection of software and peripherals. Information on Dell and its products can be obtained at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive ( is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll ®
, and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research through wholly owned subsidiaries–London-based HI Europe ( and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan–as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market- and opinion-research firms, and various U.S. offices. EOE M/F/D/V

Dell is a trademark of Dell Computer Corporation.

Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.

Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

Related Posts