Gadget Buyers Seen as Assertive, Even Arrogant

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An online study found avid technology consumers tended to score highly in personality traits such as leadership, dynamism and assertiveness, but low in modesty.

NEW YORK (Reuters ) - Know someone who loves gadgets and can't wait to buy the newest model? Chances are you would describe them as assertive and a strong leader -- and possibly arrogant, according a U.S. research.

An online study evaluating the characteristics of 25,000 American adults found avid technology consumers tended to score highly in personality traits such as leadership, dynamism and assertiveness -- but low in modesty.

"A lot of previous research points to wealthy young males as early adopters of technology," said Sarah Welch, lead researcher at Internet ad network firm Mindset Media that conducted the study in partnership with Nielsen Online.

"But this study tells us that there are characteristics beyond age and gender and income that are also extremely highly correlated with tech consumption," she added.

The study looked at 20 personality traits or "mindsets" including openness, creativity, self esteem and spontaneity.

Respondents were rated on a scale of 1 through 5, with 1 representing those who demonstrated the least amount of a given mindset and 5 representing those who demonstrated the highest intensity of a mindset.

Those who scored a 5 in leadership were 68 percent more likely to have purchased three or more computers in the past two years, the study found.

Likewise, respondents who rated highly in assertiveness were 62 percent more likely to purchase a new cell phone when the newest model arrived on the market.

Although tech consumers don't fit a typical demographic mold, the findings weren't entirely surprising, Welch said.

"If you look at those with qualities of a modern leader, they're often forward-facing and interested in what's next," she said.

"And those who are really assertive are the types to grab life by the horn, so it also makes sense that when they see something they want or like they go straight for it."

Welch said the results could have implications for technology companies looking to attract a new set of consumers and even potentially impact the way such products are designed.

But the study also found that avid tech consumers were also likely to be low in modesty and may be perceived as conceited or arrogant by others.

Low levels of modesty also correlate with what Welch calls "badge-buying", or a tendency to buy luxury brands.

"So there's an element of pride in being able to have the latest and greatest, not just in the realm of technology, but in all other areas," Welch said.

(Reporting by Lara Hertel; editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

This article was originally published on 2008-06-18
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