Watching the watches – smartwatches and fitness bands [TUPdate]

Smartwatch and fitness band penetration tapers to 2016 levels

The race for the wrist has settled into a larger-than-niche and less-than-majority position. Over the last three years, the share of online Americans using at least one smartwatch has grown from one in six to one in five, only to settle back to the one in six level. This is based on TUP/Technology User Profile 2019 survey of 8,060 online adults in the US, and from the prior three annual waves.

Worse yet for both fitness bands and smartwatches – it’s not as if each are cannibalizing the other. Use of either type of device is also down, dropping from a high of 33% in 2016 to 27% in 2019.
The market has tapered even while smartwatch makers continue to add capabilities well beyond timekeeping and step-counting. Also, it’s happening even as watch-wearers begin to actively use the new capabilities – broadening their use of smartwatches to more activities. Some of the top smartwatch activities include seeing who’s calling before taking a call through or on their smartwatch, recording their heart rates, checking current weather, or using their smartwatch in a store to check products or prices. Convenience is at hand.

Younger adults embrace wearables more than older Americans

Younger Americans have adopted Smart watches and other wearables more strongly than older Americans. Just over half of online Americans age 18 to 34 use at least one Bluetooth headset, smartwatch, or fitness band. In stark contrast, just less than one in five (19%) online Americans age 65 or higher use any of these wearables. Among this set, fitness bands have the highest penetration, on the wrists of one in nine (11%).
Hearables are an important category to track. In addition to sales by watchmakers, beneficiaries include digital media services (specifically music), cellular carriers, and the full ecosystem of e-wallet payments and retailers. Continue reading

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Filed under Fitness Trackers, Market Research, Personal and Productivity, Smartwatches, TUP 2019, TUPdate, Voice Assistant

Favorite Device Combinations – Less Juggling

The Favorite Collections
Users vote with their fingers, demonstrating what they like by what they use. The top combination includes two devices – a notebook and smartphone and no desktop or tablet – and is actively used by nearly one in seven (14%) online adults in the US.

This is based on the four most recent waves of TUP/Technology User Profile, the 2016 through 2019 waves. These were based on 7,336, 7,521, 7,886, and 8,060 US online adult representative responses, respectively.

The top five combinations are used by well over half (59%) of online Americans. All the top combinations include a smartphone, three include a desktop, three include a notebook, and two include a tablet. Four of these major combinations have remained the most widely used for the last four years. Continue reading

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Filed under Consumer research, Desktops, Devices, Market Research, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2019, TUPdate

Game-Playing Trends – Convenience Gamers, Dedicated Gamers, and Device-Gamers [TUPdate]

Overview

Playing games is a regular activity for most adults whether using game consoles or gaming PCs, or any of their connected devices – mobile phones, tablets, or PCs.

Convenience Gamers – those using only a connected device to play games – has near-equal market penetration to Dedicated Gamers – users of game consoles or gaming PCs.

Device-Gamers – who use any of their connected devices – is a larger segment than either Dedicated Gamers or Convenience Gamers.

This TUPdate looks at the major trends of game-playing in the US and other countries, focusing on Convenience Gamers – the next tier of game-players beyond Dedicated Gamers. Also, it examines which types of devices are used the most or least for playing games. Further, it investigates whether younger adults play more or less than older ones, and differences in digital media use and subscriptions.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from the 2019 wave of TUP (Technology User Profile), which is TUP’s 37th continuous wave. Results from previous waves are also included where indicated. This survey-based study details the use of technology products by a carefully-selected and weighted set of respondents drawn to represent online adults.

Questions?

Current subscribers to TUP/Technology User Profile may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis. For example, clients may request similar results outside the US, or within your chosen market subset. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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Filed under Consumer research, Desktops, Entertainment, Game Consoles, Market Research, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, Trends, TUP 2019, TUPdate

Home Printing Trends – US 2019 [TUPdate]

Overview

Printing at home has changed in recent years. Printer manufacturers continue to innovate in order to compete and encourage broad active printer use.

This TUPdate looks at the major trends in home printing in the US, and examines how users have changed in both what they print and their volume of printing. Also, it examines printing trends with respect to the broadened use of mobile devices. Further, it looks into whether younger adults print more or less than older ones, and whether presence of children makes a difference.

The source for this analysis is MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile, with results from waves 2015 through 2019, all based on surveys of from 7,326 to 8,060 online adults in the US.

Home Printer Penetration

The majority of online adults in the US use a home printer, although market penetration has dropped over the last two years.

In 2019, 68% of online adults in the US actively use a home printer. This is effectively the same level as in 2018 – 67%. However, this share had been a stable 73% between 2015 to 2017.

The decline has been driven by substitutes, primarily increased use mobile devices

Home Printer Page Volume Has Declined

While the penetration of home printers has dropped slowly then stabilized, the number of pages being printed has dropped faster.

The average number of pages printed per month has dropped from 38.6 per month in 2015 to 31.8 in 2019, a reduction of nearly 20%.

Mobile Substitutes For Printing

One of the biggest contributors to the decline in printing – the mass move to mobile platforms. Americans are increasingly using their smartphones to find their way instead of printing maps or directions. That change is happening surely yet slowly.

It may surprise many digital natives that as many as 43.7 million Americans still occasionally print maps/directions.

Continue reading

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Filed under Consumer research, Graphics and Image, Market Research, Printers, TUP 2019, TUPdate

Alone Americans – Overlooked Technology Users? [TUPdate]

Sometimes the slow-moving trends are the ones that get missed. Coupled with preconceived notions, these have the makings of blind spots. For many tech companies, single-person American households may be an overlooked market segment.

Based on research by the U.S. Census and our TUP/Technology User Profile service, 1-person American households are a sizable and growing segment with more to them than may be apparent at first. Also, they are not created equally, especially in which technology products and services they actively use.

Tech marketers often advertise with images of bustling families juggling their lives and devices. Soccer moms abound. This perpetuates a myth that’s leaving many out in the less connected and underserved cold. Furthermore, many companies from Amazon to Spotify and T-Mobile have created family plans that financially favor multi-person households, making their offerings less attractive to the many 1-person households.

While it makes sense for any marketers to focus on the biggest-seeming opportunities, and families are big tech consumers, sometimes this is done out of habit or custom, which may mean missing opportunities.

The number of single-person households has grown in share and number

The US Census reports that single-person households make up 28% of households in 2018, up substantially up from 13% in 1960. Similarly, the number of households has also grown, at 35.7 million in 2018, up from 6.9 million in 1960. Whether through preference or necessity, 1-person households are a substantial slice of the American market. Most forecasts indicate the share remaining stable for years to come.

On First Glance, 1-Person Households Seem Tech-Avoidant

When it comes to the devices Americans in 1-person households use, our TUP/Technology User Profile service shows that as a group, they’re behind the curve. American 1-person households appear to be languishing in technology’s past. They are 27% more likely than the average online American adult to still be using a home PC using Windows 7, the Microsoft operating systems nearing its end of life. The replacement for Windows Vista officially came off Microsoft’s mainstream support four years ago – in January 2015. Extended support has been available, yet that support is scheduled to be discontinued in less than one year, by January 2020. Also, 1-person households are well above average (22% higher than average) in their use of a home-owned basic feature phone.

In contrast, American households where children are present have well above-average rates of using many key devices – Windows tablets, game consoles, and Apple Notebooks. This simple view may clarify why some companies prefer to simply tailor their products and services to larger households and avoid smaller ones.

However, looking more deeply into 1-person households, there’s more than household size and core technology that reveals their differences.

A Deeper Look – Young and Old Singles

Within 1-person households, there’s a striking difference between younger and older adults in the profile of their technology usage. The highest usage index for Windows 7 home PCs is among older (age 35+) singles, at 48% higher than the national average. Similarly, there’s an index of 131 for use of a home-owned basic feature phone.

In stark contrast, among younger 1-person households, usage is strongly higher for many key technology devices: game consoles, Apple iPhones, Apple PCs (Macs), Apple notebooks, and Windows tablets.

However, age alone does not adequately describe 1-person households and their technology usage, nor does combining age and household size. There are yet other factors.

Size, Age, and Employment Status

Drilling down into the TUP/Technology User Profile results even more deeply, the combination of household size, age group, and employment status shows even stronger differences.

Have a job – part-time or full-time or even self-employed – and be younger than 40, and you’ll be among the highest technology adopters among 1-person households.

They are above average in using a Windows or Android Tablet, an Apple PC, iPhone, and game console.

The lowest technology adopters are those not employed outside the household and in 1-person households, both younger and older. These have the highest relative levels of using Windows 7 home PCs and home basic cell phones.

Family Plans Aren’t Only Used by Families

Interestingly, even while family/multi-person plans are ostensibly targeted at larger households, a substantial number of 1-person households are using them.

Nearly one-fourth (24%) of 1-person households have a smartphone plan with 2 or more lines. Similarly, “family” paid media subscriptions such as for music or TV are being used by 18% of America adults in 1-person households.

Looking ahead

Shifts in population may seem glacial especially by those in technology industries who are accustomed to frequent shifts. People change their living situations less quickly than they change their adoption of technology. Consequently, technology companies would be better served, as would 1-person households, to the extent these users are included in their offerings.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from the 2018 wave of TUP (Technology User Profile), which is TUP’s 36th continuous wave. This survey-based study details the use of technology products by a carefully-selected and weighted set of respondents drawn to represent online adults.

Resources
Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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Filed under Basic cell phones, Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Households, Market Research, Market Segmentation, Market Sizing, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2018, Usage Patterns