Is the Internet still fun, or is the novelty gone? – reported in MetaFacts TUP survey

Internet Fun by Age Group

Is the Internet still fun, or is the novelty gone? – reported in MetaFacts TUP survey

A MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, MetaFacts Principal Analyst

Fun is one of the strongest gravitational forces drawing people to use the Internet. There are of course many other factors influencing usage and adoption levels, such as productivity and connection with friends, yet fun and enjoyment are key human needs.

As part of Technology User Profile, we asked respondents whether they are finding more ways to use the Internet for fun. Nearly two-thirds (64%) agreed or strongly agreed. This is from a carefully balanced sample of 8,175 adults in the second phase of the Technology User Profile survey.

Even at surface level, this finding is a positive sign for the continued growth and strength of the Internet and the many technology products and services relying on it. As adults continue to explore new ways to use the Internet it is a positive sign, and it’s even better to see that the majority of adults do so.

Not all adults agree, however, and some groups show more enthusiasm than others. Younger adults (age 18-34) more strongly agree that they are finding more fun online, with nearly 7 in 10 (69%) agreeing or strongly agreeing. Fewer older adults (age 35 and up) are as enthusiastic, with just under half (49%) agreeing or strongly agreeing.

We also looked more closely to compare Smartphone subscribers to users of Basic Mobile Phones. We wanted to see whether Smartphone users are so charmed with their newer technology that they aren’t enjoying their Internet experience as much for fun. Smartphone subscribers actually have a higher enthusiasm for the web than users of Basic Mobile Phones. Over two-thirds (70%) of Smartphone users agree or strongly agreed with the statement “I keep finding more ways to use the Internet for fun.” This is stronger than the 54% of Basic Mobile Phone users who similarly agree.

This is due only in part to the generally younger age of Smartphone subscribers, because other factors also define the difference: marital status, presence of children (particularly teens), and gender.

Looking more deeply, we examined whether technology experience made a difference. Correcting for age, long-time PC users had the same attitude as those newer to using a PC. There was no significant difference between the attitudes of younger adults (age 18-34) who are Younger PC Newbies – who have used a PC for less than a quarter of their lifetime and Younger PC Veterans, those who have more experience. Also, within older adults (age 35+) the attitudes are the same for Older PC Newbies and Older PC Veterans.

In related analysis, lack of interest is a key deterrent to many that are not using social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or MySpace.


The technology industry thrives on change and exploration, and while there have been cycles of irrational exuberance and retrenchment, true and sustainable growth or contraction is based on the attitudes and behaviors of technology consumers.

Fun and home entertainment is one key component of the most enthusiastic tech consumers, and for these fans, the Internet is a strong part of their home entertainment experience. With Smartphones and Tablets vying for tech consumers’ attention, PCs stand to be threatened as user’s core Internet portal. Furthermore, different groups of tech consumers react differently to key damping issues such as over-advertising, spam, and privacy concerns.

Fortunately for the tech industry, the quest for fun continues to be a major and positive part of the leading indicators defining technology adoption.


MetaFacts Technology User Profile Overview Edition – report available by contacting MetaFacts. View findings in 25 pages of executive summary analysis, 200+ pages of charts and graphs, all supported by 95+ pages of detailed tables. The complete, 300+ page report is delivered to you electronically. This edition is for the U.S. based on the 2010 wave of Technology User Profile gathered among a scrupulously selected set of representative respondents, surveyed both online and offline.

To see other research coverage of Internet products and activities – from smartphones to feature phones, desktops to notebooks, social networking, demographics, and attitudes – see the many other Internet-oriented questions TUP covers on

About TUPdates

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Smartphones, Netbooks, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Moms and Dads, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry trends and facts. 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 for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile (TUP) 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 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. TUP analyzes key trends and the data-rich source can be dived into more deeply for custom analysis. For more information about the syndicated research service, analysis tools, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts or call at 1-760-635-4300.

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