NewYork, 31.01.2019

MRI research shows 16 million Americans own 3 or more Smart Life devices

83% of “Smart Lifers” have smart TVs; also embrace health trackers, smart speakers

As individual pieces of smart technology – from AI-based speakers to virtual reality headsets – become almost commonplace, the industry is looking to consumers with the biggest technology appetites to take smart living to the next level.

According to the most recent wave of data from MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer®, half (51%) of Americans own at least one Smart life device – from smart TVs to smart thermostats* – but only 6% have three or more. These 16 million “Smart Lifers,” who are embracing connected technology with gusto, have a distinct profile as consumers of products, services, and media; in fact, MRI will be making this target available in the National study for all subscribers.

MRI’s Karen Ramspacher (SVP, Insights & Innovation) presented an in-depth look at Smart Lifers at the Media Insights & Engagement conference in Los Angeles yesterday. 

Click here to download GfK’s presentation from MIE.

According to MRI – a division of GfK – six in ten (60%) Smart Lifers are married, and half (51%) have children. They also tend to be young, with a median age of 40, and are equally likely to be men or women. Most are professionals, and they generally have higher than average salaries – which, at least for the moment, are helpful when paying for smart devices and services.

The most recent MRI data also shows that 83% of Smart Lifers have a smart TV, compared to just 36% of the total US population. (See Table 1 – page 2.) In addition, 62% have a wearable fitness tracker; 53% own a smart home hub; and 47% have purchased a smart watch.

These tech-forward consumers have surprising media profiles – reporting heavy use of magazines, but light consumption of TV. They are also heavy users of the Internet, but only medium to light readers of newspapers.

Table 1. Smart tech ownership – Smart Lifers versus US population


Total Population

Smart Lifer

Smart TV



Wearable fitness tracker



Smart home hub



Smart watch



Compared to all consumers, Smart Lifers show particularly high usage of online travel and deal sites – among them Airbnb, Fandango, and Groupon. They also index high for reading airline magazines and fitness titles.

On a personal level, Smart Lifers are engaging and open minded. They tend to be active and social, and often act as tech advisors to their friends and family. Smart Lifers also skew toward the intellectual and artsy, are civically engaged, and enjoy collecting as a hobby.

"The Smart Lifers are the most ripe target for all the newest technologies, but they are only the beginning,” said Ramspacher. “For companies to reach this target – and then expand beyond it – they need to understand who is currently buying smart tech, how it fits into their lives, and what else they own. With MRI’s depth of data on behaviors and attitudes, we can help target this key group now and track them into the future.”

The Smart Lifer findings are culled from the Spring 2018 data release of MRI’S Survey of the American Consumer®.

* Smart Life devices measured: Smart TVs, fitness trackers, smart speakers, smart watches, smart home hubs, smart thermostats, and VR headsets.

About MRI

MRI’s focus on excellence has made it the leading provider of media and consumer research in the United States. Its Survey of the American Consumer® is used in the majority of US media and marketing plans and has long been the industry standard for magazine audience ratings. Through over 24,000 in-person interviews each year, MRI captures in-depth information on consumer media choices, attitudes, and consumption of products and services in nearly 600 categories. 

For the past 20 years, MRI’s national study and reporting services have been accredited by the MRC, which assures that audience measurement services are valid, reliable, and effective. As part of its annual accreditation process, the MRC conducts rigorous audits of MRI’s methodology, fieldwork, analytics, and data handling systems. MRI is the only service of its kind to maintain this exceptionally high level of quality.

MRI is a division of GfK; to learn more, follow MRI on Twitter at @GfKMRINews.

Latest Press Releases

View all Press