Category Archives: Information and Search

Are Tablets and Computers Being Used the Same? [TUPdate]

Is an iPad a computer? Is a Microsoft Surface a tablet? What about Chromebooks – how do they fit into user’s uses? The major tech marketers are working to shift perceptions, such as Apple’s positioning of the iPad as a computer. Even though perceptions do shift buying decisions, user innovation and inertia are a force to reckon with. Many users have already pioneered ways to use their devices. We went straight to the users to see if they’re using tablets and notebooks the same, using iPads differently from Android Tablets, and Windows Notebooks from Chromebooks. Our basic hypothesis is that perceived differences, if substantial, can be confirmed by measuring user behavior.

Top Activities for New Home Tablets

iPads are more useful – based on users doing more with them. A higher share of users of recently-acquired home-owned tablets use Apple iPads for more of the major tablet activities than users of new Windows tablets or new home Android tablets. This is based on results from the MetaFacts TUP 2018 survey, conducted among 14,273 respondents across the US, UK, Germany, India, and China.

Top activities for New Home Notebooks

In this survey, we asked respondents about 73 different activities regularly used on the connected devices they actively use, including desktops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, basic cell phones, or game consoles. The activities span a wide range of activities, from communication and entertainment to shopping and productivity. Drilling down to those with new home tablets or notebooks, we found some interesting commonalities as well as striking differences.

Of the top activities used by the largest share of new home tablet users, a higher share of iPads users regularly conduct the majority. Where social network commenting and movie/video watching rank highest among iPad users, these users are somewhat surpassed by Android Tablet users in checking updates on sports and weather, and in downloading free apps/software. User of the newest Windows tablets aren’t strongest in any of the top activities, although they are nearest to the others in listening to music and checking personal email.

iPads, and tablets in general, are used for more passive or limited involvement activities than notebooks. These top tablet activities include listening to music, playing games, watching television, or commenting on social networks. Home notebooks, in contrast, are most widely-used for both personal and work email, online banking, and online shopping.

Unique activities

We also looked at what makes each operating system unique, both on tablets or notebooks, with respect to how users use their mobile devices. We measured uniqueness as the range between the highest and lowest percentage of users of each type of device.

This revealed several differences in tablet use. New home iPads are being used more often for fun and connection than users of new home Windows or Android tablets. Android tablets stand out for being used to read books, shop for free apps, and to use a voice assistant. [TUP subscribers can dive into the data deeper to see the relationship between OS and choice of voice assistant).

New home notebooks are also being used differently between operating systems. Apple’s notebooks are used differently than the average home Windows notebook or Chromebook – with remote PC connections, listening to streaming music, or downloading music.

New Google Chromebooks are used more than average for online banking, to watch videos/movies, to comment on blogs, and to recommend or share information about products and services.

Among these top unique activities, one is unique for new home Windows notebooks: creating personal graphics/presentations.

Looking ahead

Inertia is great for entrenched leaders and a serious barrier for new entrants. People change habits more slowly than they change devices. By focusing on the main activities users enjoy and value, To expand the market will be helped by making it easy and smooth for users to easily do their activities regardless of device type. In Apple’s case, popular activities such as watching videos or movies requires apps or browsers that seamlessly span iOS and MacOS devices.

While users define what they have by how they use it, there will continue to be confusion among some press and analysts seeking to distinguish devices. However, it’s unlikely that a new form factor category will emerge from the push to redefine and reposition platforms. Instead, users will continue to vote with their feet (or in this case, their fingers) and look for the device/OS combinations that will best help them do whatever they want or need to do.

Methodology

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from the most-recent wave of TUP (Technology User Profile), the 2018 edition 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. This specific wave spanned the US, UK, Germany, India, and China. From the installed base we focused in on online adults who were using either a new home tablet or notebook PC. We chose those mobile devices which had been acquired in the most recent 1.5 years, specifically during 2017 and the first half of 2018.

About this TUPdate

This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2018 survey, its 36th consecutive wave. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Resources

Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.

 

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Filed under Entertainment, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Operating systems, Shopping, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

News and Ad Blocking – A Persistent Challenge

Keep stopping the ads!

So say a large and growing group of consumers.

There are multiple ways consumers are expressing this, from actively using ad blockers, to moving beyond “freemium” sites and content to those offering an ad-free experience with a paid subscription, or simply reducing their media consumption.

Ad blockers are being used by a substantial share of online adults in the US. Based on our 2017 wave of Technology User Profile throughout the US, 40% of Connected Adults are actively using an Ad Blocking app on at least one of their connected devices.
Ad blockers are being used across a range of user’s connected devices. The highest rate of ad blocking is on PCs, followed by Smartphones, and then Tablets.
The Ad Blocking rate is even higher among the most-active news readers. This rejection doesn’t bode well for ad-supported business models, such as that of many media outlets.

Looking ahead

Digital consumers continue to value an ad-free experience, whether for news, music, or video content. Consumers enjoy convenience and continue to respond to offers marketed as free. Although these hopes and preferences may persist, what matters more than wishes are what consumers do. Action matters more than opinion, just as behavior carries more weight than intention or preference. Seeing that so many consumers, especially such highly-engaged ones, continue to take the extra step to actively block ads continues to send the messages to advertisers as well as news outlets.

Meanwhile, many media outlets have gotten the message and moved their ad-free experiences behind paywalls. Others encourage freemium customers to at least whitelist their publications. To the extent consumers lower their defenses, this may reduce the value consumers place on being ad-free. In turn, this may encourage more consumers to return to being active readers.

Source

This post includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile survey, from TUP 2017, its 35th consecutive wave, as well as previous waves. Comparable results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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Filed under Consumer research, Desktops, Information and Search, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Notebooks, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2017, Usage Patterns

Voice Assistants-What Users Ask About (MetaFAQs)

As the saying goes, many talk about the weather, yet few do anything about it. Our research doesn’t show if people expect Alexa to have any skills to do anything about the weather. However, it is the main subject users speak with Alexa about. That’s followed by requests about music.

MetaFacts VUP-Voice User Profile-Subjects by System

Meanwhile, web searches are the major subject users speak with their Voice Assistants about. This subject is dominated by Google Assistant, and closely seconded by Microsoft Cortana.

Alexa is ranked #1 in the breadth of subjects actively used, and is primarily used for weather, music, and entertainment. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Alexa is more-favored for shopping than other systems. What may be surprising is that shopping isn’t Alexa’s top helpful task. Since most connected shopping today is visual, most involves the use of a larger screen device such as a PC or Tablet.

Google Assistant is ranked 2nd for breadth of subjects, mostly utilized for web searches, navigation, and music.

3rd-ranked Apple Siri is used primarily for web searches, weather, and navigation, and is uniquely strong in messaging.

4th-ranked Microsoft Cortana is similarly used for web searches, weather, and music. Like Alexa, it’s slightly stronger than average for scheduling.

This is based on the MetaFacts Voice User Profile survey conducted in February 2018. This subset of the results report on active usage, which is a practical measure to contrast with the potential of what Voice Assistants may or may be able to do.

Observations

The market for Voice Assistants is in a time of flux and rapid development, as each Voice Assistant system touts the breadth of its skills, richness of their vocabulary, accuracy, humor, or other capabilities. Meanwhile, users are experimenting, with some former users having been discouraged by unmet expectations and others only at the start of their adoption.

Related research results

The MetaFacts Voice User Profile includes other related analysis, including:

  • The subjects Voice Assistant users ask about: weather, scheduling, music, entertainment, home automation, and more
  • Which Voice Assistant systems are being actively used, on which platforms, and which segments they are attracting
  •  Which listening devices are being actively used – from Smart Speakers to Smartphones and Headsets
  • Where Voice Assistant users will – and won’t – do their talking: in restaurants, driving, while walking, and many other locations and settings
  • How well – or poorly – users experience their Voice Assistants, and how performance metrics vary by system and listening device
  • How many adults are active Voice Assistant users, how many are former users, and how many have never tried one
  • Reasons given why consumers have never used a Voice Assistant, as well as why former users aren’t currently active users

Source

The information in this MetaFAQ is based on a survey of 525 online adults during February 2018 as part of the MetaFacts Voice User Profile (VUP). The study universe includes active Voice Assistant users, former Voice Assistant users, as well as consumers who have never used a Voice Assistant. Current TUP (Technology User Profile) subscribers can obtain the results of this newest research at a discount. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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Filed under Consumer research, Information and Search, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Personal and Productivity, Shopping, Voice Assistant

Device Primacy and OS – What we Hold Near (TUPdate)

Device Primacy and OS – What we Hold Near – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, January 18, 2017

Primacy. The first device you reach for, the one you stay near, the one you rely on. You might think that it’s the Smartphone, and that’s correct for many, but not all. For many activities and market segments, PCs and tablets dominate. A user’s activity focus affects which devices they choose most often, as does their operating system collection, among other factors.

Primacy by OS Family

All-Apple and all-Windows users are living in different worlds – as they have strikingly different preferences for their primary devices.
Among Apple-only users, Smartphones are the primary device for most types of activities. The PC (Mac or MacBook in this case) is their primary device for cloud storage/sharing and for search and information-related activities. Half (50%) of these adults using only Apple iOS or MacOS devices (no Microsoft Windows or Google Android or ChromeOS) do most of their cloud storage/sharing activities on a PC, and just under one-third (32%) primarily use a Smartphone.

In contrast, among Windows-only users, the PC is strongly the primary device for every major type of activity. Smartphones are only ranked second for productivity/personal and graphics/images activities. A tablet is the second choice for the greatest number of activity types – cloud storage/sharing, search/information, shopping, and social networking.metafacts-device-primacy-primary-secondary-device-2017-01-18_17-08-39

Apple’s iPad doesn’t rank as a second device for any type of activity among Apple-only users. This low level of primacy may seem surprising given that penetration of iPads is higher than average among this Apple-loyal segment. Sixty-one percent of Apple-only users regularly use an Apple iPad, more than double the national rate of 29%. This primacy analysis doesn’t mean Apple-only users aren’t enjoying their iPads – simply that they’re lower on the list of devices they choose for a wide range of activities.

Devices and Primacy
metafacts-device-primary-summary-170113
Across the entire base of connected adults, the PC is the leader for nearly every type of activity. The Swiss Army Knife broad nature of PCs continues its appeal. Smartphones only lead PCs for communications and graphics/imaging activities. Many of the specific activities in these two categories are strongly mobile – making phone calls, staying in touch, and taking and sharing photos.

OS Family

Connected Devices are dominated by three operating systems families – Microsoft Windows, Apple’s MacOS and iOS, and Google’s Android and Chrome OS. The base of Windows, once exclusively dominant, is well-overlapped by Apple and Google. The majority of users are living a multi-OS lifestyle, juggling more than OS family. The two largest OS combinations are nearly equal in market size. Just over one-fourth (26%) of users use connected devices running Windows and Google, and none with an Apple OS. Another fourth (25%) have Windows and Apple devices, with none as Google.metafacts-device-primacy-2017-01-12_16-25-15

Profile highlights of OS Family groups

It might be assumed that Apple-only users are early adopters while Windows-only users are laggards, partly explaining why they might choose different devices as primary or secondary. This is only partly true. The Windows-only users do include many tech laggards and the late majority, with 38% being the last of their age group to have first used a PC, mobile phone, or tablet. However, the Apple-only users aren’t especially early adopters, as 32% meet that definition, which is slightly less than the 33% nationwide who also do. There are other characteristics that set them apart.
Windows-only users are the oldest of the major OS family groups, on average 10 years older than every other group. They also include the smallest share of full-time employees, highest share of low-income households, and lowest average number of devices.metafacts-device-primacy-user-profile-highlights-by-os
Apple-only users have the highest share of younger millennials, have relatively high incomes, although are middling with respect to tech early adopters and laggards.
The jugglers of all three OS are the youngest, high incomes, more devices in use, and have the highest share of tech early adopters.

Activity types, primacy, ages and tech spending

Primacy of device by activity also varies with respect to the user’s age and consumer tech spending on devices and services. Younger adults aren’t necessarily the biggest tech spenders, nor are Smartphone users. In fact, those who primarily use their PCs for social networking or image/graphics activities are the biggest tech spenders and older than those who mostly use Smartphones for those activities.metafacts-device-primacy-age-device-spend-2017-01-18_12-36-08

The average age of adults who use a PC for the majority of their image/graphics activities – from managing photos to creating presentations – is 44, nearly five years older than those whose primary image/graphics device is a Smartphone. The graphics PC group also spends more than $1,450 per year more than Smartphone-focused users. Similarly, PC-focused Social Networkers are more than 8 years older and spend $730 more per year on consumer tech devices and services than their Smartphone counterparts.

Looking ahead

We expect tablets to continue to languish as a minor device for most users and most activity categories. As more 2-in-1 and convertible notebooks emerge and grow in acceptance, they will continue to relegate tablets to secondary or tertiary use.
Smartphones will continue their market penetration, replacing the basic cell phone among the last stalwart holdouts. Whether the last new Smartphone adopters will choose to go with Android or Apple Smartphones will set them on a course strongly affecting their next PC and tablet purchase. It’s most likely they will choose Google Android since this segment is more price-sensitive and less tech-savvy than average.
PCs will continue their gradual decline from primacy, to be replaced by Smartphones. Within PCs, there will be a broader division between the activity profiles for desktop and mobile PCs. We expect desktop PCs to continue their broad primary and secondary use, due to inertia and the as yet unmatched broad capabilities of PCs. Mobile PCs, however, while pressuring tablets, will themselves feel the strongest pressure from Smartphones as their broad usefulness continues to expand.

About this TUPdate

This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on the most-recent results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2016 survey, its 34th wave, with 7,334 respondents (US). For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Resources

Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis. This TUPdate is based on the TUP Life Stage section, which is within the TUP 2016 User Profile Chapter.

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Filed under Basic cell phones, Behaviors and Activities, Cloud Storage, Communication, Desktops, Devices, Entertainment, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Shopping, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Video calling

How many connected adults use hearables? (MetaFAQs)

For ears, it’s an exciting time in the tech industry.

Hearable technology – audio-oriented wearables spanning wireless Bluetooth headsets to VR headsets – have received a fresh round of media attention. This has stemmed from substantial recent investment in new ventures such as Oculus VR along with a wider range of product releases.

Currently, one in eight US connected adults are regularly using a hearable device – either a wireless Bluetooth headset or VR headsets. This level of use is broad enough to represent great potential opportunity, yet not broad enough to sustain many competitors.

The primary current use case for Bluetooth headsets are for phone calls, as has been the case for more than a decade. Apple is leading the charge to change this with their Airpods tightly integrated with iPhones, in a bid to help popularize voice-controlled usage. metafacts-metafaqs-mq0099-120drxhear-2017-01-11_08-54-29Voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Now promise to radically shift how users interact with their technology.

VR headsets, sometimes called goggles, are primarily being used for immersive games, and reaching a slightly different segment than Bluetooth headsets.

This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2016 survey.

This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active technology users.

Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapters with the most information about activities is the TUP 2016 Wearables, Hearables, Listening, and Speaking Chapter. This details which market segments are (and aren’t) using hearables, listening to music, using music streaming services, making phone calls, playing games, using voice control, and other audio-oriented products and activities.

These MetaFAQs are brought to you by MetaFacts, based on research results from their most-recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP).

For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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Filed under Behaviors and Activities, Communication, Consumer research, Forward-Leaning, Information and Search, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Smartphones, TUP 2016, Usage Patterns