In an analysis of US mass transit users, US consumers who use subways and railway systems, and "power pedestrians" — defined as consumers who walk three or more miles in a city or town over the course of a week — Scarborough Research found that this desirable demographic is plugged-in and more likely to plan to purchase portable electronic devices such as MP3 players and PDAs, as well as to use wireless Internet. Also, importantly, these consumers have more opportunities to make purchases.
Not only do mass transit users and power pedestrians account for about 22% of consumers in the 75 US markets measured by Scarborough, "They have the power to purchase in the palm of their hand with the personal electronic devices, and their on-the-go nature simply may place them in closer proximity to retail outlets."
Not surprisingly, since they spent so much time on the go, Scarborough found that mass transit users and power pedestrians own or plan to purchase a variety of portable technologies.
US subway riders, for example are 93% more likely than the average consumer in subway cities to plan to purchase an MP3 player — rail riders are 62% more likely and power pedestrians are 44% more likely. When it comes to PDAs subway riders are 48% more likely than the average consumer to plan to buy one, rail riders 65% and power pedestrians are 16% more likely.
All three groups are more likely to have wireless Internet access. In fact, online purchasing is extremely popular with this demographic. Subway riders, for example, are 27% more likely than other consumers to have spent $2,500 or more on Internet purchases during the past year, and power pedestrians are 26% more likely than all consumers to be in this spending group. They also buy in high-end retail categories online, such as jewelry, automotive and travel.
"Portable devices such as MP3 players and PDAs give the commuter the power to purchase in the palm of their hand," said Carol Edwards of Arbitron, the parent company of Scarborough. "This, combined with the fact that these consumers are ‘out and about’ and perhaps close to retail outlets and other points of purchase, gives marketers a unique opportunity to entice a consumer group who may be physically closer to making a purchase,"