In marketing, there are consumers who are considered ‘early adopters’ or products and brands, and there are consumers who fall into the ‘laggards’ category.  The latter consumer group is slow to try new products and prefers to wait for others to test drive them first.  Laggards need to fully understand the benefits that products can deliver to them before they pull out their hard-earned money and buy them.

In 2009, the smartphone market took a big jump when laggards (including members of the baby boomer generation) embraced the benefits of having access to the Internet and mobile apps.  2009 marked the year that devices like the Apple iPhone and Google Droid moved from being cool new toys to truly useful and helpful products.

The chart below from eMarketer (via a comScore study) shows the break down of mobile device ownership by age range as of November 2009.

Smartphone sales are expected to grow in record numbers in 2010, eventually eclipsing personal computer sales.  It’s interesting to imagine how different the above chart will look at the end of 2010.  Just 20 years ago, almost no one had a mobile phone.  Today, 55% of baby boomers consider their mobile phones to be a necessity.  As people from all age ranges and demographics begin to rely more and more on mobile apps, that percentage will surely grow.

Could you live without your mobile device?  Would you want to?  What app can’t you live without?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.