Tag Archives: PC Activities

Smartphones challenge Mobile PCs – the users speak

Smartphones challenge Mobile PCs – the users speak

A TUPdate from MetaFacts by Dan Ness, Principal Analyst

You can’t go out for coffee these days without sharing space with legions of dedicated smartphone users doing everything from texting their friends to checking the latest NFL or soccer scores. With smartphone functionality and the number of available apps increasing at hyper speed, could this trend foreshadow the decline of the mobile computer and relegate all those laptops, netbooks and tablets to the land of the Atari? Will Apple iPhones, RIM Blackberries, Winphones or the Android-powered grab the fingers of the most-mobile among us?  Our new MetaFacts Technology User Profile, 2009 Global Insights Edition polled over 22,000+ online PC adults in 10 developed countries and found some surprising answers.

Why is this important?

Makers of mobile computers, smartphone manufacturers, wireless carriers and application developers should all be watching these trends closely both from an R&D standpoint and a marketing perspective. OEMs of desktop computers should also take heed if more and more users opt for portables even if they don’t use them in more than one location.

First let’s look at who’s using mobile PCs these days and where they are using them. Not surprisingly, this is a younger group overall. The average age of online adult mobile PC users is nearly seven years younger than the average desktop user. Nearly a third of the mobile computer users are in the college age to early career category of 18-34 year olds.

Just where are mobile PCs being used? The age of the user is also a factor here. The younger users are, the more likely they were to report using their mobile computers in four or more locations, a finding that is likely reflective of the more mobile lifestyle of this segment.

But desktop and mobile PC manufacturers take notice: Nearly half of mobile PCs are used in only one location. This begs the question of why these homebody mobiles are stuck in their desk job. If this trend continues, will the pendulum swing away from netbooks and ever-lighter notebook PCs back to full-featured desktop replacements?

And the mobile PCs seem to be working harder than desktops. The portables are logging more hours than their desktop cousins with nearly 25% being used for 40 or more hours per week versus 18% of desktops being used that much.

So what are these mobile computer users doing with their portables? While their activities are generally the same as those performed on their desktops, the survey showed that mobile PCs which are used in multiple locations appeared to be much more integrated into the user’s life. These younger multiple-location PC users reported performing nearly double the number of activities on their mobile PCs than the group reporting that their mobile PCs remained tethered to one location.

The more years people use computers, the more activities they add to their list of things to do with their machines. PC Veterans, people who have used computers over a quarter of their lives, use their mobile PCs for more activities than PC Newbies, regardless of their age. Not surprisingly, users in the 18-24 age category use their mobile PCs more often for entertainment and communication than older mobile computer users.

Now let’s turn to the role that cell phones play in the mobile PC world. With the ever-increasing functionality of phones, is the choice of mobile connectivity an either/or when it comes using mobile computers and smartphones? Our survey showed quite the opposite. Even the savviest of smartphone users are not likely to give up their mobile computers. Interestingly, the adults who reported using the most functionality on their phones also reported using their mobile PCs in more locations, nearly twice the number of those who used their mobile phones only as basic phones. Bottom line: When it comes to the question of whether to take the smartphone or the mobile PC to the cybercafé, the current answer is often “both.”

If today’s mobile PCs could talk, they might paraphrase Mark Twain’s famous quote, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Further Resources

MetaFacts Technology User Profile – 2009 Global Insights Edition – a syndicated survey of 30,889 representative respondents in 16 countries

MetaFacts Technology User Profile – 2009 Global Insights Edition – Developed Economies – a syndicated survey of 22,072 representative respondents in 10 countries

MetaFacts Mobile PC Brand Profile Report – analysis of the mobile market based on results in MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2008 Annual Edition – a syndicated survey of over 10,000 representative respondents in the U.S.

About this TUPdate

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Moms and Dads, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry topics. These TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world. Interested technology professionals can sign up at http://technologyuser.com/contact/ for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are widely recognized as a primary market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information about the syndicated research service, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

Leave a comment

Filed under Busy Mobiles Profile Report, Consumer research, Market Research, Mobile PC Brand Profile Report, TUP 2009, TUPdate

Email is the most frequent activity of users on all primary home PCs

What’s the most popular activity which is starting to lose its power?

The main activity for all primary home PC users is sending or receiving email.

Households with older versions of Windows are different in their activities from other OS users. Users of older Window OS’s second-most frequent activity is searching the Internet on other issues, instead of for news, like other OS users. Users of older Windows PCs’ sixth activity is searching on health issues.

The two largest rank differences for users of older Windows OS’s are in personal/household activities (recipes, home design, etc.) and listening to music CDs or MP3s. Personal activities rank higher (9) for older Windows OS’s than other OS users, especially higher than Vista (21) and Apple (22) users. Users of older Window OS’s frequency of activity for listening to music CDs or MP3 was, at 24, well below Apple users at 9, and 13 for both Vista and XP users.

Vista and XP users ranked their highest 10 activities very similarly. There is a difference in the 6th and 7th ranking, but otherwise they share the same order of activities.

Apple users are similar to Vista and XP users for the first 5 activities. They begin to differentiate afterwards. Apple users have a higher ranking than Vista and XP users for working with text (6 vs. 10) and listening to music CDs or MP3s (9 vs. 13).

Ranking of PC/Online Activities for Primary PC Users - Home Operating Systems Profile Report

Ranking of PC/Online Activities for Primary PC Users – Home Operating Systems Profile Report

Other findings in the MetaFacts Operating Systems Profile Report include:

  • Operating System Landscape
    • Multi-PC and Multi-OS Households
  • Home Operating Systems and Demographics
    • Having children in the household does make a difference for Vista
    • Household employment and operating system
    • Education level and operating system within the household
    • Annual household income and operating system
    • People age 18-34 are using more Apple primary home PCs than older people
  • Purchase Channels
    • Apple gets a bigger share of direct sales than Windows PCs
  • PC Brands & Operating Systems
    • New PC brands bought by operating system
    • Total installed base for all primary home PCs shows some movement from the big brands in the new PC market
  • Changes in PC Form Factors – Laptops are coming on strong as new primary PC form factor
  • How Different Operating Systems are Used Differently
    • Email is the most frequent activity of users on all primary home PCs
    • New primary home PC user activities
  • Operating Systems and Other Consumer Electronics
    • Handheld device use and operating system of the household
    • Imaging behavior and household operating system
    • Television viewing habits and operating system in the household
    • Convenience is the key for households that have at least one Apple Home PC
    • Some Older Windows Households are planning to upgrade while still taking advantage of older technology
  • Technology Attitudes and Operating Systems
    • Attitudes of adult PC users vary with operating system

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Broadband, Digital Imaging, and many other technology industry topics. These Profile Reports are in a series on specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption and use in American households and businesses. Interested technology professionals can sign up for complimentary TUPdates, periodic snapshots of technology markets.

News flash: even more recent updates to this information are available to subscribers to the full Technology User Profile service, the TUP Overview Report, and other TUP Profile Reports.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are widely recognized as a primary marketing resource for Fortune 1000 companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, peripherals, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300 or www.metafacts.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Operating Systems Profile Report, TUP 2008

Mobile Computer Users are Now in the Majority

Press Release – September 2008

Mobile Computer Users are Now in the Majority, according to MetaFacts Busy Mobiles Profile Report

The largest segment of busy mobiles are personally owned and desk-bound, overshadowing highly mobile corporate road warriors

Mobile PCs have moved into the majority, with 53% of computer-using adults using either a notebook or tablet PC, according to the Busy Mobiles Report from MetaFacts, Inc.

Busy Mobiles Profile Report

Busy Mobiles Profile Report

“Mobile PC users are very busy” said Dan Ness, Principal Analyst at MetaFacts. “Nearly 13 million adults use a notebook or tablet PC 40 or more hours per week, and 60% of these active users regularly use three or more PCs, moving between home, work, and publicly-owned PCs.”

The large-scale nationwide survey found that 44% of the mobile PCs used 40 or more hours per week are owned by households, 31% are owned by businesses with 1,000 or more employees, and 25% by small & medium businesses, education, and government. 

The survey also revealed that the busiest mobile PC users are very different than the least-busy mobile users, being uniquely tied to their PCs with instant messaging, streaming music, and maintaining their calendars. “The busiest mobile PC users rely on high-speed internet connections for a very wide range of PC activities, from day-to-day work to having fun,” said Ness.

The busiest mobile PCs are not as mobile as might be expected – 43% are used in only one location, 13% are used in two locations, and 44% are used in three or more locations.

“Mobile computing is a sport for the young,” said Dan Ness, Principal Analyst at MetaFacts. “Nearly one-third (31%) of the busiest mobile users are males age 18 to 34, almost a quarter (23%) are females age 18 to 34, and one-sixth (16%) are males age 35 to 44.”

Other findings in the Busy Mobiles Profile Report include:

  • Dell is strongest among busy mobiles and for Apple, it’s a strong segment
  • More than three-fourths (76%) of the busiest mobile PC users spend more time with their PC(s) than watching TV
  • Seven of 22 occupational groups use over half of the busiest mobile PCs
  • Busy Mobile PC Households are above average in their use of consumer electronics, and have above-average buying plans for additional High-Definition TVs (HDTV), digital video recorders, and even Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes for older TVs

The Busy Mobiles Profile Report is based on surveys with over 10,000 American adults by telephone and online as part of the Technology User Profile 2008 Annual Edition study.

The Busy Mobiles Profile Report is available for immediate purchase through the online store at the MetaFacts website – MetaFacts.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2008

TUPdate: Mouse Potato or Couch Potato? Interactive Fun Draws TV Viewers Ever Towards PCs

At the same time Americans are buying ever-bigger TVs, they are turning their attention to smaller screens – those on their PCs. In the 2008 Annual Edition of Technology User Profile, we found that 57% of Home PC Households agree with this statement: “I spend more time using my computer than watching TV.” Only one year ago, this percentage was less than half – 45%. What is the significance of this increasingly defined divide?

The draw to the PC away from TV stems from – where else? – Entertainment. Nearly four times as many PC-focused Americans as TV-focused ones say “I keep finding more ways to use the internet for fun,” with 76% of PCers and 20% of TVers in agreement. Also, 89% of PCers surveyed agree: “The Internet is a big part of my home entertainment,” compared with 36% of TVers.

Also, hands-on interactivity is a major draw, as the PC-focused go beyond simply pushing a few buttons on their remote controls. PC-focused Americans engage in uniquely proactive, leading-edge, and niche activities more often than TV-focused Americans do. Substantially more PCers participate in interactive chatting (47% PCers, 19% TVers), social networking (35% PCers, 12% TVers), and web publishing (15% PCers, 3% TVers) than do their TV-focused counterparts.

Furthermore, PCers use their PCs and the Internet for a wider range of activities, averaging 18 different activities compared with 11 on average among TVers. This reflects a self-reinforcing effect, as people discover more things they can do with their personal computers, the more they weave them into their daily lives, and then they are able to discover yet more activities of interest.

Although there are myths that the web is primarily frequented by young millennials, there are no strong demographic differences between those who identify as PC-focused and those who consider themselves TV-focused. These interactivity-seeking PC users are young and old, male and female, and high-income as well as low-income.

Looking ahead, we don’t agree with straight-lining pundits who forecast mass migration of eyeballs to the ever-tinier screens of mobile phones and PDAs. Instead, as we’ve watched technology adoption these last 2 decades, we stick with a whole-person view. There are brains and fingers attached to those eyeballs.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Consumer research, Households, Market Research, Statistics, Technology, TUP 2007, TUP 2008, TUPdate

Fad, Niche, or Next Big Thing?

The technology industry has a perennial sport called “The Next Big Thing.” It involves spotting, creating, and being part of the newest technological advance that will change people’s lives. Even though advances seem to arrive overnight, in truth most true innovations take years to reach broad market acceptance.

Why is this important?

Timing is everything. The critical turning point for most technology products or services are when they reach that first 5% to 10% of the potential market. Depending on how they fare among these early adopters, they may either be doomed as fads, may limply hang on, or might break away into widespread use.

Even languishing niche products and services may hold promise for the future, and therefore can garner renewed investment and media attention. One recent example is the ability to make phone calls over the Internet through VoIP/Voice over Internet Protocol. Even though less than 5% of U.S. Home PCs have this as a regular activity, eBay recently committed billions to this market.  [See our TUPdate of December 1, 2005 – “VoIP: Still Calling, But Not an Answer Yet”]

Several other activities are in that same small-market zone and are worthy of note.

Most of the activities that have captured the regular attention of between 5% and 10% of home PCs involve active use. Their nature is markedly different from passive couch-potato-style TV viewing. Although dynamic activities can deliver the stickiness of frequent use so desired by marketers, the demands of regular interaction may discourage use by the broader mass of otherwise passive consumers. Writing a blog takes more ongoing and concerted effort than tuning into a primetime TV program. Indeed, there are nearly twice as many blog contributors than blog initiators.

Sites that help people meet other people are also used by this small group. The many dating services sites from Match.com to eHarmony.com have captured nearly one in fifteen home PCs. Although social networking was expected to skyrocket in the late 90’s, this activity has managed to reach a rather small, focused contingent of social and tech-savvy users.

Home PC Activities Among Small Market Segments

Activities for Which Home PC is Regularly Used (between 5% and 10% of total)

% of U.S. Home PCs

Post a comment on someone else’s blog/online journal

9.2%

Use an online dating service (e.g. Match.com)

7.4%

Create web pages (web publishing)

6.6%

Use a community/social networking group (e.g. Friendster, LinkedIn, Ryze)

5.7%

Write your own blog/online journal (e.g. MySpace, blogspot)

5.3%

Make voice telephone calls/voice chats over the Internet (VoIP)

4.5%

Source: MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2005 Annual Edition

Part of the sport of identifying technology trends involves carefully understanding core behavior. Even though technology itself may be disruptive and evolve quickly, consumer habits do not change quite so quickly. Consumers will gladly shift from one technology to another, causing seemingly fickle behavior to companies invested too deeply in a narrow technology and without their eyes on their customer’s broader activities and choices.

Leave a comment

Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Trends, TUP 2005, TUPdate