Apple’s Long March into the Majority (TUPdate)

Apple’s Long March into the Majority – Dan Ness, October 27, 2016
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For the first time in tech history, Apple has reached the half-way mark in the active installed base. As of our 2016 wave of the TUP survey, 52% of connected adults are using either an Apple Macintosh, iPhone, or iPad. This overall penetration statistic reflects that at least one key Apple device is in the hands of over half of the market.

Apple’s achievement has been from multiple successes – not only one blockbuster. In fact, just as all boats rise together on the same tide, each of Apple iPad, iPhone, and Macs have attained greater market penetration.

The iPhone has lead the charge, passing one-fourth of U.S. connected adults in 2015 to reach 36% in 2016. The iPad has experienced the most dramatic growth, stretching beyond one in five adults in 2015 to 29% in 2016. Of the three key devices, the Apple Mac and MacBooks are starting to mark their mark beyond their prior return customers. Having been strong among students and mobile employees for some time, especially MacBooks, both Apple notebooks and desktops are reaching a wider audience.
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Apple has achieved this in part through balancing proprietary designs with open standards. To encourage and support use by users of only one of Apple’s key devices, each one needs to play well with other competitive products. For example, iPhone and Android Smartphone users need to be able to communicate with each other. Although Apple hasn’t fully opened their iMessage system, basic text messaging works cross-platform. iPad users need to be able to easily browse web pages with as much ease as on a Windows or Android Tablet, even while Apple famously avoided enabling Adobe Flash. Mac users need to be able to share documents with Windows users, and that’s smoother than ever.

Apple’s growing penetration has also been one of expanding breadth. Now effectively half (49%) of Apple’s customers have two or more of Apple’s key devices. Only one year ago, in 2015, only 41% had that many. The most demonstrably loyal Apple customers have the full collection of these three key devices. This continues to be a small group, at 15% of Apple’s customers for these devices, and yet this is a growing group.

Diving into the combinations
To get a more complete understanding into the dynamics, I dove more deeply into the TUP data. One fruitful dimension of our custom forecasting analysis is based on what users have. For most tech products and service, buyers begin with what they have. The current set of products has a strong impact on shaping future choices. For example, when consumers mull buying a tablet, those already using both an Apple Mac and iPhone are more likely to include an iPad in their consideration set than those with no Apple devices at all. They’re also more likely to have an ongoing connection with Apple, even if it’s limited to periodic operating system updates. Similarly, those with any single Apple device are more likely than non-users to at least consider an additional Apple device. Of course, this isn’t automatically true, since in some cases in can backfire if users are having bad experiences with the product, brand, or in this case, the OS ecosystem.

The largest group based on combinations of Apple devices – those who are only using an iPhone, and not an iPhone or iPad. This group has been largest since 2014. Those who have added an iPad to go along with their iPhone have brought this 2-Apple-device combination to be the 2nd-largest. Perhaps surprisingly, the 3rd-largest Apple-device combination is the set of users who have all three. Although this Apple-intense group only represents 8% of all connected adults, it’s grown from being 4% only one year prior.metafacts-td1609-apple-combo-penetration-2016-10-25-1157

Into the [main] stream
With Apple’s move into the majority, will it be harder for Apple to be perceived as elite, special, and “different”?

Even in the 1980’s when I was researching markets for Apple, the company was different and special. From its beginning, Apple appealed to and reached a small share of the market. There have always been certain segments of the market where Apple has dominated at least some of the time, such as among creatives in graphics, marketing, and education.

We are conducting additional analysis of technology users by their employment role and industry, to see where other TUP results point to strongthening or weakening Apple adoption through buyer’s purchase intentions, refresh rates for PCs (Macs), Smartphones, and Tablets, socioeconomic factors, and many other factors.

Looking ahead
We expect Apple’s expansion to continue, although not with as high growth rates as in the past. In the tablet business, Microsoft’s Surface has made recent inroads, such that 12% of connected adults are using a Windows Tablet. Google Android Tablets are also a strong force, being actively used by 17%.

With the recent refresh of the MacBook line, Apple stands to continue its broadening penetration. The foremost  buyers will come from within the ranks of current MacBook and Apple desktops users. We expect a smaller percentage of buyers to come from the ranks of current Windows Notebook users. Stronger yes will be those users with at least one Mac, iPad, or iPhone.

This trope can finally be truthfully said: these segments are Apple’s low-hanging fruit.

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.

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 identity 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].

More Images – Less Paper (TUPdate)

More images — less paper – a MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, October 14, 2016

I love photos of kittens. And puppies. And rainbows. And yes, I’m enjoy seeing photos of your desserts, grandkids and glorious travels. Okay, now I’ve said it out loud.dessert-2016-10-14_12-00-04

Evidently, I’m similar to nearly half of every other American adult when it comes to admiring beautiful, fun, and engaging photos. I admit this even as I assiduously avoid counting myself as being representative of any entire market. As a long-time researcher, I choose to share my findings and opinions about tech customer demand and market dynamics based on the voices of thousands of survey respondents.

There’s something connecting and real about sharing photos. More than half (56%) of adults with a connected device share photos online and almost half (47%) share in person. Images tell a story, share feelings and experiences, and connect us. The use of digital images has grown explosively to be central to the everyday connected life.metafacts-tupan16-photos-with-any-device-2016-10-14_12-01-32

Those images aren’t coming from traditional cameras, though. For the majority that seeks convenience, having one device do something passably well is better than carrying many specialized gadgets. Purists can argue about superior photo quality taken with a camera intended to be a real camera. That misses the point for most of the market. Having any camera handy at that special moment is better than having the perfect camera after it’s over.

Smartphones have been fueling much of the photo explosion, being the choice for over two-thirds (69%) of connected adults. Tablets haven’t contributed as much to the photo stream – with only one-sixth (17%) of adults regularly using one to take photos. In many circles, bringing out a tablet to take photos is considered a bit invasive, impolite or a little too geeky. This sort of social friction is par for the course among early adopters.

Despite the expanding breadth of photo-taking, overall printer penetration isn’t growing. The number of printers in active use hasn’t budged materially in years. Our MetaFacts TUP 2013 survey found that 12% of connected adults didn’t use a printer. As of TUP 2016, 13% still don’t actively use a printer. You might think that statistic would shift among the busiest printer users. However, that’s been stable, too. Adults printing 50 or more pages per month were 29% of connected adults in 2011 and are near to the same size five years later, representing 27% in 2016.metafacts-tupan16-printing-activities-among-most-graphical-2016-10-14_12-02-20

To profile the most-attractive printer users, I explored three dimensions with a deeper dive into the TUP datasets.

  • High-Volume: The busiest users – those who print the most pages
  • Most-Graphical: The strongest relevant demand – the most-graphical users as evidenced by being in the top third of users in the number of graphics and image-oriented activities they regularly do with their collection of connected devices
  • Mobile Printing: Those who print on the go, using their mobile device to wirelessly print

The heaviest printers are breathing rarified air. Users who printer 50 or more pages per month are in the top 22% of Inkjet Printer users and top 33% of Laser Printer users.three-groups-2016-10-14_12-03-08

These high-volume printers skew towards users with larger, higher-income households with children. Age 25-44 are strongest, as are Employed and Self-Employed. They are more likely than average to be regularly using 2 or more printers.

Among the most-graphical users, printer penetration is higher than among average connected adults. The most-graphical are 50% more likely than average to be using a 2nd printer, and 86% more likely to be using a 3rd printer. Also, more than a third (36%) of these most-graphical print 50+ pages each month.

Also, printing photos is much more common among the most-graphical than the average user. Among these most-graphical, printing photos is the second-ranked printing activity, done occasionally by 44% of these users, well above the 33% of average users doing so. The most-graphical also have a higher penetration of printer use – 94%.

These most-graphical include a higher than average share of Millennials, making up 56% of their numbers. They are also more likely to have children, with 58% doing so.

Mobile printing has been possible for some time, although actual adoption has been relatively slow. Less than a third (31%) of those with tablets print wirelessly to a nearby printer, 17% to a remote printer using email, and 15% using an online service. Smartphone printing is lower, with one-sixth (17%) of Smartphone users printing wirelessly to a nearby printer, 11% to a remote printer using email, and 10% using an online service.

Looking ahead, we expect the major printer manufacturers to continue to focus on one, if not all, of these market segments. The convenience-oriented will be served by automated ink replacement, such as HP’s Instant Ink subscription service. Currently, less than a third (29%) of the highest-volume printer use this type of service.

Our research supports photo-taking activities continuing strongly and broadly into the future. Smartphone cameras will only get better and users will continue to be increasingly comfortable with selfies, scans, and group photos. However, this increase in demand won’t necessarily increase printing levels, at least among the overall market. I expect consumer’s need to share photos which are first printed to continue their decline, with continued innovation in social networking. Also, as a broader range of users get comfortable using their devices, more users will join the mass shift towards sharing photos on screens instead of paper. The need for archival printing of precious documents such as heirloom photos will be reduced with the further adoption of cloud file storage. In addition, the TUP research supports continued growth in the number of users finding other ways to share photos in person, with broader adoption of the connections between Smartphone and larger screens from tablets to TVs.

Yes, you too can expect to see more kittens, rainbows, food porn, and cute grandkids. We might as well get our popcorn ready!

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.

references-2016-10-14_12-03-55

 

Facebook to Desktop – Get Smart or Get Blitzed? (TUPdate)

This week, Facebook announced their plans to defeat Ad Blocking software for its members using Desktops.

Users vote with their fingertips and clicks, and may allow themselves to be herded towards Facebook’s more-lucrative Smartphone platform, will tolerate more ads they’ve actively chosen to avoid, will migrate to other Social Networks, or may simply lose interest and wither away.1608 fb migration 2016-08-10_8-34-34

Is Facebook’s gamble really going to affect much of a market? How many Facebook users still use their desktops? How attractive are these users? There’s more to these users than many people might think.

In our most recently publicly-released research, Technology User Profile 2015, we reported that nearly as many Facebook users primarily use their PCs as their Smartphones for Social Networking. Over 67 million American adults primarily use their PCs for Facebook Social Networking, outnumbering the 63 million who primarily use their Smartphones.

Furthermore, Facebook users who use their Desktop PCs spend more on technology products and service than the average American Connected Adult, 5% more, which is slightly higher than the 4% more than those users preferring Smartphones for Social Networking.

Ad Blocking on PCs among those primarily using PCs for Social Networking is much higher than among those blocking ads on their Smartphones and using Smartphones for Social Networking, at 33% and 13%, respectively. However, that camel’s nose is well under the tent, as users that block ads on any of their devices is nearly on par among Facebook’s PC and Smartphone users. Forty-one percent of Facebook’s users who primarily use a PC use an Ad Blocker on at least one of their devices, only slightly more than the 37% of Facebook’s users who primarily use their Smartphone for Social Networking.

Ad Blocking is a controversial topic among users, the media, and advertisers. As we reported earlier in our TUPdate Look Who’s Using Adblockers , users with ad blocking software are an attractive market segment, spending more on technology than those who don’t.

As part of Facebook’s move, they offer users the option to customize their ad preferences. Although this may encourage users to further control their experience, we expect that convenience-oriented users will choose other options first.

At the end of the day, users make their choices. Without engaged active users, no social network is going to continue. Although many media outlets and advertisers will rally around Facebook or anyone willing to take on ad blocking technology or user’s resistance to advertising, it is a calculated gamble. Facebook may win more advertisers and allies, may alienate a substantial number of their users, or may help bring around consumer sentiment to accept more advertising.

Background

This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary from a special MetaFacts Profile report – Look Who’s Using AdBlockers – a Profile of Technology Users throughout the US, UK, France, Brazil, and China. The results are based on a multi-country survey of over 10,000 representative respondents conducted by MetaFacts. The report spans 125 pages including supporting tables, and is available for license. Current TUP subscribers can obtain the report and supporting datasets at a substantial discount. To license the full report, contact MetaFacts.