Category Archives: Usage Patterns

Every Step You Take – Smartphone Step-Trackers (TUPdate)

Every Step You Take – Smartphone Step-Trackers – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, March 24, 2017

Baby steps count, as long as they’re in the right direction.  Digital health promises positive outcomes for a wide range of people. However, like gym memberships and home treadmills, they don’t do much unless people use them. A first step for many is to use what’s handy. Most Smartphones can track a user’s steps, and many are being used for that purpose, although use isn’t as widespread as Fitness Trackers or Smartwatches.

Phone Home or Walk Home?

Using one’s Smartphone to track steps is a regular activity for 25 million, or 1 in 9, US adults. There are other ways to track one’s health. Electronics activity trackers, such as the FitBit, are being actively used by 39.6 million, or 18% of US adults.

Also, Smartwatches are in active use by 36 million adults, or 17% of all U.S. Connected Adults.

Plans to Buy a Fitness Tracker

The strongest plans to purchase a fitness tracker are among adults who are already actively counting their steps. One-sixth (16%) of adults who are currently tracking their steps using a Smartphone are planning to buy a Fitness Tracker in the next 12 months. Fitness Tracker purchase plans are much smaller among Smartphone users who aren’t already using it to track their steps. Purchase plans are even smaller among adults who do not currently use a Smartphone.

Active Usage and Plans to Buy a Fitness Tracker – Age-related (in part)

The highest usage rates for electronic activity trackers is among older millennials, age 28-35, with nearly one-third (32%) actively using one. The shouldering cohorts have lower user rates that are identical with each other – 20%. Each older age group has a lower usage rate.

The pattern is different for tracking steps using a Smartphone. Younger adults, especially Younger Millennials, have the highest usage rates. Nearly one-in-five (19%) of Younger Millennials (age 18-27) use a Smartphone to track their steps. Slightly fewer (15%) of Older Millennials (age 28-35) do, and even fewer (11%) of GenX (age 36-51) do.

Purchase plans follow a similar pattern of being age-related, with younger adults having stronger plans than older adults.

There are many reasons for the difference in age interest between Fitness Trackers and Smartphones. One factor is the persistent wobbliness between BOB and SAK in tech. BOB means Best of Breed, which includes focused-function devices or services which focus on being the best in their class for a narrow set of capabilities. SAK refers to the Swiss Army Knife approach, integrating a broad range of adequate capabilities into a device or service. Over the last three decades of tech research, our research shows a constantly shifting balance between the adoption of BOB versus SAK, and for all kinds of technology products and services.

Separate wearables dedicated to fitness have the charm of being stylish accessories, of more appeal to younger adults. Also, any adults more athletic than their older counterparts will value the accuracy of dedicated fitness tracker, whether that additional accuracy is actual or perceived. Cost is a factor to some extent, as these younger adults don’t have the financial means of the next-older age cohort. Younger Millennials have the highest unemployment rates (10%), student rates (30%), and part-time employment rates (19%) of any of the age cohorts. Their full-time employment rate (29%) is nearly half that of Older Millennials (56%).

Looking ahead

Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches, although both Wearables, are not exactly in the same category. Fitness tracker makers would argue they are different in accuracy, health tracking beyond steps such as pulse rates, lower cost, or with design that’s more clearly oriented towards fitness. Purchase plans are similar, though, with 6% of U.S. Connected Adults planning by buy a Fitness Tracker in the coming 12 months, and 7% planning to buy a Smartwatch. What’s interesting is that the majority of those planning to acquire either type of device are employed full-time or part-time.

Perhaps some savvy marketers will join forces with employers oriented towards supporting their employee’s health, and support the many with healthy intentions. Whether supported or not, we expect digital health to reach further into the lives of Connected Adults, as an increasing number of devices offer metrics that matter.

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 was based on results in the TUP Chapter – Consumer Electronics, Section WEAR/Wearables, Hearables, Listening and Speaking.

Related MetaFAQs

The following related MetaFAQs address questions included in this TUPdate.

mq0118 Who is already wearing wearable technology? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [120 DRxWEAR] Respondent Demographics
mq0124 Is there an age skew for using a Smartwatch? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A4-AGE/Age Ranges  Tables: [480 CExAGE] Consumer Electronics
mq0132 Is there an age skew for those using a Smartphone to track their steps? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A4-AGE/Age Ranges  Tables: [480 CExAGE] Consumer Electronics
mq0169 Is there an age skew for using wearable activity trackers, such as a FitBit? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A4-AGE/Age Ranges  Tables: [480 CExAGE] Consumer Electronics
mq0260 Are tech wearers bigger or lower tech spenders? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [790 SPENDxWEAR] Tech Spending
mq0335 Are tech wearers more or less socially active? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [230 SNSxWEAR] Social Networkers
mq0374 Are tech wearers earlier Desktop, Notebook, or Smartphone adopters? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [160 ADOPTxWEAR] Technology Adoption
mq0375 Are tech wearers early adopters? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [160 ADOPTxWEAR] Technology Adoption
mq0393 Do technology wearers use more or fewer CE products? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [480 CExWEAR] Consumer Electronics
mq0395 Do technology wearers use more or fewer connected devices? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [490 UNITSxWEAR] Units
mq0424 Are tech wearers more or less active with their devices than others? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [540 ACTxWEAR] Activities
mq0425 Are tech wearers using more-mobile tech products? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I1-WEAR/Wearable Technology  Tables: [250 DEV_KEYxWEAR] Key Device Metrics
mq0710 Do Smartwatch users use voice assistants at a higher rate than average? Chapter: I Wearables, Hearables, Listening & Speaking  Section: I3-VOICEASST/Voice Assistance  Tables: [480 CExVOICEASST] Consumer Electronics

 

 

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Filed under Demographics & Econographics, Fitness Trackers, Market Research, Personal and Productivity, Smartphones, Smartwatches, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

Are most hearables being used by young males? (MetaFAQs)

Wireless headsets have been available for more than a decade, and are strongest among two age and gender groups. These hearables-active groups are also have above-average shares of VR Headset early adopters.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0100-120drxhear-2017-02-13_08-31-37

The strongest segments for active hearables use include younger males – age 18-44 and youngish females – age 25-34. Penetration is above one in four among males 25-34 (27%) and among males age 35-44 (26%). Among females, hearables usage peaks among females age 25-34, at 15%.

Looking ahead, we expect these same age & gender groups to continue as the strongest users of hearables, and don’t expect other segments to be as keen on hearables.

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Filed under Communication, Demographics & Econographics, Entertainment, Forward-Leaning, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Smartphones, TUP 2016, Usage Patterns, 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

Life Stages and Technology Adoption – TUPdate

Life Stage and Technology Adoption – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, December 16, 2016

The stages of life – although many take different paths – are a useful component of understanding technology users. Pivotal life events shape us – forming a family or empty-nesting, passing key birthdays, or joining or leaving from the workforce.
Kids matter – in many ways, and very much so when it comes to understanding technology spending, usage, adoption, and the future of tech. Simply knowing whether children are present or not provides a lot of explanatory power for a technology user’s profile.metafacts-tup-life-stage-factors-2016-12-16_11-17-07

Presence of children is one of three factors that make up life stage analysis, with the other two being age and employment status.
Within the TUP study, MetaFacts determines life stage by creating eight mutually-exclusive groups, each formed by two values of three components. We grouped respondent’s ages into 18-39 (“younger”) and 40 and above (“older”), and presence of children into present or not present. Being employed in the workforce includes any working full-time, part-time, or self-employed. Those not employed outside the home include students, the retired, homemakers, seasonally unemployed and temporarily unemployed.
Life stage analysis is a useful and productive way to quickly sift through mountains of sociodemographics. These three factors, although not exhaustive, provide strong definitional power with respect to predicting and profiling technology acquisition and usage.

Tech Spending by Life Stage

The biggest tech spenders are those adults within the life stage group: younger, employed, and with children. Adults age 18-38 who have kids and are actively employed full-time, part-time, or self-employed spend 66% more on tech devices and services in a year than the average adult. The second-biggest life stage group in tech spending also have kids and are employed, although are age 40 and up. This group’s tech spend is 16% higher than the national average.metafacts-td161215-life-stage-tech-spend-index-2016-12-15_11-48-59
At the other end of the spectrum, with the lowest tech spending levels, are adults age 40+, not employed, and without kids. Their index of 67 reflects their tech spending levels 33% below the national average for connected adults. All of the life stage groups without children spend below the national average for tech devices and services. Also, adults who are not employed outside the home spend less than the average connected adult on tech.

Consumer Electronics and Life Stage

Life stage analysis reveals both laggards and early adopters of many leading technology products. The connected home appears to be doing well – although only among one life stage segment. Employed adults age 18-39 with children stand heads and shoulders above all other segments in market penetration. From smart locks to video doorbells, this group’s usage is significantly stronger than other life stage groups. This group is also clearly strongest in the use of certain other consumer electronics products – golf swing analyzers, GoPro-type headcams, and to further feather the nest, home projectors. Relative penetration of this last item is not quite as different, reflecting in part the higher price of home projectors compared to these other devices, and that they have been available for more years than the other devices.metafacts-td161215-life-stage-consumer-electronics-2016-12-15_14-30-47

One consumer electronic product has reached entirely different life stage segments – the venerable record player. Although turntables and vinyl albums have enjoyed some resurgence following their near-extinction, current usage is primarily among adults age 40 and up, and less so among younger adults. In addition to nostalgic ties and musical memories, these listeners also are more likely to have old LPs.

Life Stage Penetration of Key Tech Devices

Life stage analysis also reveals differences in the use of many key computing and printing devices. The notebook penetration rate among adults employed 18-39 with kids is double that of adults not employed 40+ without kids. There’s an even stronger difference for use of a second PC, with Employed 18-39 with kids having triple the penetration rate of not employed 40+ without kids. And, with nearly a quintuple rate difference, use of game consoles among not employed adults age 18-39 with kids is two-thirds (66%), 4.8 times higher than the 14% rate among not employed 40+ without children.metafacts-td161215-life-stage-key-devices-2016-12-15_14-30-47

Number of Devices by OS

Windows dominates computing devices, as it has for decades. Among all life stage groups, the average number of devices is highest for Windows devices. Apple and Google Android/Chrome devices are gaining in the average number in active use. Among adults 18-39 not employed, there is no difference between Windows and Apple in the number of each OS in active use.
Apple ranks second among all life stage segments except one – 40+, Not employed with Kids. Although the difference is small, this reflects the lower penetration Apple devices have among older adults.metafacts-td161215-key-devices-by-os-2016-12-16_08-03-24

Looking Ahead

Life stage analysis reveals important market segments, especially to separate laggards from early adopters of the newest technology. This approach also helps in predicting future adoption. As technology users navigate their own life courses and transitions. Although it isn’t true that parents leave a maternity ward with additional tech devices, it’s typically not too long that tech accumulation begins.

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.

Supporting MetaFAQs

  • mq0137 – What is the penetration of home-owned computing devices? – [250 DEV_KEYxLIFE]
  • mq0257 – Which Life Stage segment spends the most on tech devices and services? – [790 SPENDxLIFE]
  • mq0215 – Which Life Stage segment use VR Headsets the most? – [480 CExLIFE]
  • mq0275 – Which Life Stage segments have the highest share of Windows, Apple, and Google OS devices? – [270 DEVxLIFE]
  • mq0594 – Which Life Stage group has the highest usage of Notebook PCs? – [250 DEV_KEYxLIFE]
  • mq0610 – Which Life Stage group has the highest usage of e-Book Readers? – [250 DEV_KEYxLIFE]

Related MetaFAQs

  • mq0091 – What is the percent of Home PC users that use printers? – [250 DEV_KEYxLIFE]
  • mq0237 – What is the average number of Home Tablets being used? – [490 UNITSxLIFE]
  • mq0236 – What is the average number of Home PCs being used? – [490 UNITSxLIFE]
  • mq0150 – Are many users using remote printing services? Are these using their Internet-ready printers or online printing services? Which segments are using remote printing as a substitute for home printing, and which as an additional way to print? – [590 ACT_IMGxLIFE]
  • mq0540 – How are TV and movie device usage levels different across Life Stage segments? – [480 CExLIFE]
  • mq0213 – How does the penetration of OS Ecosystems vary by device type? – [250 DEV_KEYxDEV_ECO]

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Filed under Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, e-Book Readers, Entertainment, Notebooks, Printers, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

Trends in Device Juggling (TUPdate)

Trends in Device Juggling: The Increasingly Active Smartphone, Persistent PC, and Late-Blooming Tablet – Dan Ness, October 20, 2016

We’re using more of our connected devices, and we’re getting more out of them. Looking deeper, some groups of Americans are expanding their collections while others are contracting.

The growing device number trend goes against one common meme – that “the PC is dead”. On first glance, only viewing the measure of devices per each connected adult, PC usage is flat. That shows that instead of PCs being replaced by Tablets or Smartphones, people are expanding their collections of actively used devices.metafacts-td1610-growing-device-collection-2016-10-19_16-35-10

There’s also something else going on. This top-line view may appear to show that “everyone” is using more devices, and as I’ll show later, that’s not the case. Some users have a more mobile profile while others are happily sedentary.

Both Desktops and Notebooks are a stable replacement market. Market demand is largely based on replacing older technology.

Tablets, although selling at high volumes in previous years, were in their earliest years isolated to a small niche segment busily replacing one after the other. Some shipments-based analysis missed the fast replacement cycle and misled some early analysts into believing these tablets were all being actively used and thereby increasing the installed base. Only in 2014 did penetration measurably broaden, and more importantly, so did the breadth of their active usage.

Smartphones have been for many years subsidized by carriers and replaced at the end of a subscriber’s contract. However, as subscribers have increasingly moved to contract-free use, we are seeing many replace their smartphones more quickly than others. The overall per capita average has increased as penetration has broadened.

Where the Activities Are

It’s not enough to simply have a device. What matters is whether it is actively used or not. The Smartphone is the most broadly used connected device, being actively used for more types of activities than any other connected device. This has been true since 2014. Tablets are only recently starting to expand their breadth of use in a more serious way, challenging the Notebook’s position as the 2nd-most broadly used device.

This measure is based on the breadth of activities by device type. The MetaFacts TUP survey includes an extensive range of activities, from shopping and entertainment to communication and productivity.

The Shifting Activity Emphasis
Looking more deeply, these two factors taken together tell a similar, although stronger, story. Mobile devices form the bulk of actively used devices. Tablets are increasing in number and usefulness, and based on their penetration and breadth of use, are now on par with notebooks. Desktop PCs continue to be both widely used and broadly useful, so should not be discounted as a powerful and persistent, if withering, force.metafacts-td1610-shifting-activity-emphais-2016-10-19_16-35-10

To determine the activity emphasis, we combined the per capita device type usage with the profile of each device’s activity levels. In this analysis, Smartphones can be seen as the powerhouse they’ve become. With both increasing penetration and broadening activity, the activity emphasis continues to grow for Smartphones.

The Preferred Combinations
Looking at per-capita or penetration analysis is a good starting point, and yet obscures some important differences and shifts in the market. Drilling down into the TUP data reveals more important patterns. First, having many devices is popular, not by many but by a large segment. The most-preferred combination of devices involves using four or more devices: two types of PCs: a Desktop and a Notebook, a Tablet, and either a Smartphone or Basic feature phone. This combination is currently used by nearly one-third (31%) of adults.

The second-most popular combination is a PC of any kind and a Smartphone. This represents nearly one-fifth (18%) of users.metafacts-td1610-popular-combinations-of-devices-2016-10-19_16-35-10

The third-most popular combination is used by nearly as many adults as the previous combination – 16%. This includes a Tablet, a Desktop PC, and either a Smartphone or Basic Feature phone.

One small combination worthy of note is one without a PC. These hardy and creative users have found a way to function with only a Tablet and a mobile phone – either a Smartphone or a Basic feature phone. While this group is very small – at 6% – it bears watching. It represents a possible approach for those wishing to be even more mobile than before. This group had more members a few years ago. In 2013, 11% of adults had this combination, and then migrated to other device combinations. At that time, many were new to technology use and started with this combination and then added a PC. However, this year both Microsoft and Apple have advertised their Tablets as PC replacements, and this group of users now includes those who have answered that call.

Leapfrogging into the Future
When looking into and creating the future, it’s vital to deeply understand the present. Consumers begin where they are. They don’t make choices in a vacuum and instead are strongly impacted by their current product collection. This pattern is a key element in the custom forecasting work we do.metafacts-td1610-device-trail-step-1-2016-10-19_16-35-10

Buyers have a strong disposition to follow a chain of events to get from point A to point B. Their choices are strongly affected by their current devices, ecosystems, activities, and habits. For example, while in 2013 18% of Connected Adults used a basic cell phone, desktop or notebook PC, and no Tablet, this combination dwindled to 9% while many users upgraded from their basic cell phone to using a Smartphone. The combination many moved to – a Smartphone, desktop or notebook, and no Tablet – today includes 18% of adults.metafacts-td1610-device-trail-step-2-2016-10-19_16-35-10

Similarly, the richest collection of devices has grown from being one of the least popular to being the most popular. The previously small group having a Tablet, Notebook, Desktop, and either a Smartphone or basic feature phone grew from 8% in 2013 to be 31% of adults. Many of these previously used everything except a Tablet.metafacts-td1610-device-trail-step-3-2016-10-19_16-35-10

The trend is not as simple as more devices being used. Many users are using fewer devices by choosing to use one type of PC – a desktop or a notebook. This is for many different reasons. While some users prefer the mobility of a notebook, others are moving to a more sedentary profile and eagerly shift to an all-in-one integrated PC design.

The Road Ahead

Looking ahead, we anticipate a gradual flattening in the overall average number of devices that people use. Desktops and Notebooks taken together will continue to dwindle in activity emphasis with some users preferring one form factor over the other. The growing acceptance of high-end gaming Desktops and Notebooks will boost the venerable PC’s position among the small but growing niche of hard-core PC gamers. The reemergence of highly-affordable and well-configured All-in-One integrated PCs will attract more casual users who otherwise would be complacently comfortable with what they have. Positioning by tablet makers from Apple to Microsoft with boost the broader use of Tablets as PC replacements beyond any gains earned from lengthening user experience.

Furthermore, new PC form factors will capture the imaginations of the design-oriented with newly shaped devices such as the speaker-shaped HP’s Pavilion Wave. Also, we’ll see further adoption of very small form factor PCs such as the Apple Mac Mini or HP Elite Slice.

Some day the device will disappear. It may sound like science fiction. In the not-too-distant future, we’ll see the beginning of the slow death of devices. These will be extensions of products and services such as today’s Amazon Echo or Dot. A person’s voice, face, or token will establish identify and allow them to use any of a wide range of microphones or cameras throughout their homes, cars, workplaces, or public places. With these connected to a high-speed network, extensive computing power needn’t be local. For this to happen in any sizable way, beyond technical hurdles there are still many factors to be addressed, from privacy and security to how information will be displayed or spoken in a useful way. The Echo’s current penetration below 2% is only the first step in a very long journey.

Well before a deviceless future comes about, though, consumers will continue to get more our of their devices. They will continue their momentum of broadening their activities with each of their many devices, regardless of size or shape.

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). Trend information is based on prior waves. 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.

The TUP 2016 Devices Chapter details device combinations, as well as device primacy, OS Ecosystems, brand footprint, and other key analysis points. In particular, see the table set [490 UNITS x COMBO].

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