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Work from home or stay at home – ready or not! (and supported or not) [TUPdate]

As a long-time information worker, remote worker, and road warrior, I’ve learned to be flexible, resourceful, and use technology to my advantage. Whether I’ve been crunching numbers or presenting results from a café in Paris, my office, home, or somewhere in between, I’ve carried an evolving assortment of tech devices so I can stay connected and work.

However, there are many people who haven’t had this experience, and may not be prepared or supported.

This TUPdate investigates several groups of consumers and workers who will soon be encountering changes in their use of technology devices and services. With the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shifts taking place now, many are not technologically ready for a work-at-home or stay-at-home experience.

Although a home PC isn’t a requirement to get online, it’s still the most widely used and most-useful device for many activities.Chart comparing work activities by device type

Among one key group – information workers – one of the most tech-savvy and tech-reliant groups, a work PC is the cornerstone of their work activity. Even though most also have smartphones, home PCs, and tablets, there are only a few work activities done more often on any other type of device. Smartphones, despite the many apps developed for them and their constant presence, only surpass work PCs for making phone and video calls. Tablets, which are increasingly becoming PC-like (and not only because of Apple’s marketing), aren’t being used similarly to PCs for work activities.

Information workers are only one of several groups to stand out as not having home PCs and being the most able to benefit from them. For this analysis, I’ve used TUP/Technology User Profile to look at three groups:

  • Information workers – workers who have a work PC
  • Adult students – attending a college, university, or other learning institution full-time or part-time
  • Elders – age 55 or older

Information workers

Information workers as a group are the least ready to be working remotely. While some employers provide work notebooks that could potentially be used at home, most don’t. Forty percent of US information workers and 58% of German information workers are self-supported, having no work notebook but having a home PC. Even higher, 54% of US information workers and 65% of German information workers are unsupported information workers, having no work notebook.Size of key groups working or staying at home

While it’s possible that some employers will simply have employees bring their work desktops home for the duration of their time working at home, I expect that not to be widespread.

Students

A smaller share of students than information workers have no home PC. Among American students, this share (29%) is larger than among students in Germany. Although some assignments and online classes and may be conducted using a smartphone or tablet, I expect many will require the larger screens or horsepower of a PC. Tablets aren’t an immediate answer at hand: only 26% of students without home PCs use a tablet.

Elders

Elders are another group likely to remain at home. Although there are regional differences about the age level of persons mandated to remain at home, those requirements are changing quickly. For this analysis, I set the bar low for typical definitions of being an elder or senior – at 55 or older.

Within elders, I also investigated a particularly vulnerable group – elders living alone. This group is one of the most connected groups of all these groups, at least with respect to the penetration of home PCs. Only 5% of American elders and 2% of German elders don’t have a home PC.

Looking ahead

The conditions for COVID-19 pandemic are uncertain. I expect most employers to support their information workers with additional technology, even though historically that’s only been the case for the minority of employers.

For self-supporting information workers that already have a home PC, this employer support is most likely to come in the form of expanded software licensing to support employees that need special software to get their job done, and remote access software to allow employees to reach their office-located desktops, servers, or networks. In many cases, especially among larger employers or technically sophisticated employers, new support will include the requisite VPN and security software to help protect the employer’s confidential information. For those self-supporting information workers with home PCs that are too old or underpowered to support the employee’s needs, some employers may order and provide work PCs for their employee’s homes. Other employers may rely on the employees to personally obtain a home PC so the employee can continue to work.

For unsupported information workers that don’t have a home PC, I expect most employers to provide a work PC or to encourage or to reimburse their employees for a home PC. As for self-supporting information workers, additional software, connectivity, and likely printing capabilities will be needed as well.

This is a quickly changing time, and it’s currently unknown how long the stay-at-home/work-from-home provisions will remain in place. However, over the last two decades, technology users have shown a strong amount of habit energy and inertial. What they do with technology changes slowly, even while there are rapid shifts in the devices and services they use – and where they use them!

Inertia simultaneously saves and disrupts technological transformation. Scanners and printers with integrated scanners have been at the heart of the paper to digital change. So much that was paper is now electronic. The “paperless office” has been a hyped cliché for decades, and yet is truer with each passing year. Although electronic signatures have been legal for over 20 years in most countries, and digital copies are increasingly acceptable in many cases, the migration from paper to electronic lumbers along gradually. Consumers and businesses alike continue to need to convert hardcopy documents and images into electronic form.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from the TUP/Technology User Profile 2019 edition which is TUP’s 37th 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, Cloud Storage, Communication, Desktops, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Market Research, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2019, TUPdate, Usage Patterns, Video calling

Which Activities Span Many Devices? (TUPdate)

So many of us have done it – started doing with our smartphone or tablet what we only formerly did with our PC. Are some activities so addictive or prevalent that people do them across their many devices? Based on our latest research, the answer is yes, and especially so for certain activities.

Nearly one-fourth (24%) of online adults around the world tap into their social networks on 4 connected devices, from among the many PCs, smartphones, and tablets they use.

This is based on the TUP/Technology User Profile 2018-Global survey, spanning 14,273 online adults across the US, UK, Germany, China, and India.

By contrast, certain activities are limited – being used more often on only one device. Making voice/video/web calls is mostly done on a single device, at 44% of online adults. Around one in three online adults also primarily use one device for the following types of activities: managing finances, photos, create/share videos, purchases, and reading.

What encourages or limits users to focus certain activities on fewer devices? Convenience and capability are key factors. Although desktop PCs can and do have webcams for video calls, they are less mobile and therefore less convenient than smartphones or tablets for unplanned calls or conferences. The same can be said for taking spontaneous photos or videos using cameras in ever-handy smartphones and tablets. Screen size and setting also have an impact. Comparison shopping benefits from the larger screens of PCs and tablets. Reading a book can be more enjoyable while sitting back with a tablet than sitting upright at a desktop PC.

The capability and preference gap

There is a perennial gap between what’s possible with a device and what people choose to do. For example, we still find few who regularly take photos with their tablets. In this specific case, social pressure has some impact as larger devices may block other’s views or at the least be less discreet.

Platforms from Facebook to Amazon and Spotify do their best to be widely present and highly available. Native apps typically offer a more stable, richer, and device-appropriate experience, further encouraging users to use them across their multiple devices. Meanwhile, device-makers continue to expand the capabilities of their devices to better accommodate and anticipate user demand.

Looking ahead

Our research shows that as users gain experience with tech products, they broaden their activities and simultaneously expand their use across the devices they regularly use. I expect users to continue demanding to do whatever they want with whatever device they have.

About this TUPdate
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. In the TUP survey, we identified the connected devices being actively used, from desktop tower PCs, to all-in-one, notebook, and convertible PC form factors, to tablets, smartphones and basic feature phones. For the four devices used most often, we asked respondents to choose from among 71 activities that they do most regularly with each device.

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 Behaviors and Activities, Communication, Consumer research, Desktops, Devices, Entertainment, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Shopping, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate, Usage Patterns, Video calling

How and Where PCs and Tablets Are Used Differently Than Smartphones [TUPdate]

People love their Smartphones and find more to do with them than PCs or Tablets. Around the world, there are few activities done with PCs as regularly as are done with Smartphones. Furthermore, there are no activities done more so on Tablets than on either Smartphones or PCs. Usage profiles vary somewhat by country. Online adults in the U.S. use their connected devices differently than users in many other countries.

These findings are based on the TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 study of 14,273 online adults in the US, UK, Germany, India, and China. Of the more-than 70 activities in the TUP survey tied to each device, we identified those with the widest range of regular use across devices – defined as the difference between the maximum and minimum usage level between Smartphone, PC, and Tablet users.

MetaFacts TUPdate 1901 18GL Activities Preferred By Each Form 190111_0843

The versatility of smartphones is shown by how much more often they’re the device of choice for nearly every type of activity, from shopping to social networking and fun. The range of activity use is as high as 65% – in the case of making and receiving personal phone calls.

Smartphones are being used the most widely for device-unique activities. The four major activities for smartphones – personal phone calls, taking pictures, text messaging, and storing one’s contacts – are infrequently done on a PC or Tablet. Although the newest tablets have cameras that approach the quality of those on Smartphones, less than a quarter (22%) are being used to take pictures. Also, despite being able to run apps such as WhatsApp or WeChat on Tablets or PCs, phone calls are primarily on Smartphones, even while personal video calls have made inroads on non-phone devices.

PCs are mostly being used for email (personal or work), online shopping (bigger screens entice buyers), and online banking. Tablets are mostly being used for social networking and music listening.

There is a small amount of crossover of activity usage across devices. Two of the major activities for Smartphones are also leading ones on Tablets – adding photos to social media and commenting on other’s images or comments.

American adults use their devices somewhat differently than users in other countries. In addition to personal and work email, PCs are used more often than Smartphones or Tablets for shopping, banking, finances/accounting, and writing.

Tablets are being used more like PCs than Smartphones. The major activities for Tablets, although with smaller percentages than PCs, are also among the major activities for PCs. Also, in the US, UK, and Germany, Tablets are used more often than either PCs or Smartphones for reading a book and making small purchases in person, such as in a coffee shop.

Where PCs Dominate
Smartphones aren’t the only connected device users actively use. There are many activities used at a higher rate on PCs than on Smartphones are tablets. Sending and checking both personal and work email are high on the list across all of the countries surveyed except for India. Also, writing and managing text documents is a PC-preferred activity except in India. In Germany, writing documents is an especially PC-dominant activity. Also, activities relating to using a printer are strongest when using a PC.

Looking ahead

Habits change slowly. Not only do people find effective ways to use connected devices to do what they want, they also show inertia when slowly moving those activities to a different device. Even those users who have multiple devices continue to use the types of devices they had previously for some time before fully embracing a type of device new to them.

Furthermore, there isn’t a single “silver bullet” device that’s preferred for all activities. For some activities, such as reading a book, shopping, or watching television, having a larger display helps. For other activities, such as receiving phone calls or texting, convenience and mobility are key.

We don’t expect the majority of users to concentrate all of their activities on a single device in the near future. Instead, the multi-device experience will continue. PCs may continue to lose their dominance for the many activities they still dominate. Dedicated PC users may just move more of their attention to tablets, especially those focused on passive activities such as social networking or television watching.

About this TUPdate

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 and how they use a Smartphone, PC, or Tablet.

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 Behaviors and Activities, Cloud Storage, Communication, Consumer research, Desktops, Devices, Entertainment, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Market Research, Notebooks, Personal and Productivity, Shopping, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate, Usage Patterns, Video calling, Voice Assistant

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

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