Category Archives: Smartphones

Smartphones Rise, PCs and Printers Float, Tablets Waver – User Trends (TUPdate)

Connected Adults using Key Devices

The number of connected adults continues to rise in the US. Based on our Technology User Profile (TUP) 2017 wave, there are 212.6 million adults who regularly connect to the Internet using a PC, Mobile Phone, Tablet, or Game Console. This number is up 18.9 million from the 193.8 million adults we reported in our TUP 2013 wave.

While some of the increase has come from a growing adult population, the share of adults actively connected has also grown, due in large part to the increasing use of Smartphones.

The use of Tablets such as Apple’s iPad has also expanded since 2013, although declined somewhat in 2017.

Home PC usage has remained relatively stable, having appeared to be on the decline after 2013, only to regain again slightly. In part, this return was supported as buyers picked up new All-in-One and Gaming PC designs. Also, many online shoppers are still preferring their larger-screen PCs or Tablets over their Smartphones.

Use of Home Printers continues to have steady, if modest, growth. The percent of Home PC users with Home Printers has rebounded from 82% in 2013 to 88% in 2017. Home inkjets continue to be the user’s printer of choice.

Key Device User Profile

American Technology Users are getting older, on average. The average (mean) age of Connected Adults has increased gradually since 2013, rising from 44.1 to 44.9. The average age of Smartphone users has grown the most dramatically, rising from 37.2 in 2013 to 43.1 in 2017. Similarly, the average Tablet users is older than only a few years ago, rising from 40.2 in 2013 to 44.2 in 2017.

Average Age of Connected Adults using Key Devices

Home Desktops continue to be used by older adults than users of Notebooks, Smartphones or Tablets, although the average age has declined somewhat.

Digging deeper, we looked at the shifts in usage rates for key devices among parents. Adults with children are the biggest spenders on technology devices and services, as we’ve reported in other findings we’ve released from MetaFacts TUP.

Smartphone usage has grown strongly between 2013 and 2017, although is appearing to be leveling off to be just slightly higher than the current level. At 87% of adults with children, Smartphones are ahead of Home PCs. The use of Home PCs by parents has dropped somewhat from 85% in 2013 to 78% in 2017. Home printer use remained a steady 70%-71% among parents.

% of Parents using Key Devices

Adults with children make up 37% of Connected Adults in 2017, higher than the rate in 2013, which was 32%. In addition to being a sizable segment of the market by numbers, as we’ve reported elsewhere in TUP, they spend much more than the average adult on technology devices and services.

Solo adults

Adults in one-person households have a different profile than parents. To begin with, Home Notebooks are used by fewer adults in one-person household than among adults with children, at 43%. Smartphone and Tablet usage has grown, although trails usage rates among parents.

Home Printer use has sagged among single adults, dropping from 68% in 2013 to 63% in 2017.

Solo adults make up 20% of Connected Adults in 2017, effectively the same rate as in 2013, at 21%.

% of Adults in One-Person Households using Key Devices

Looking ahead

The trend is continuing with a multi-device experience for many years to come. Although Tablets appeared to be emerging as a third device, most users actively use both a mobile phone and PC. While Smartphones are growing in use, they aren’t fully replacing PCs or Tablets for most of user’s activities. Although consumers continue to explore and experiment with ways to enjoy what they have, changes in behavior can come slowly. The inertia of consumers is a major factor.

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 survey, from 2013 through 2017, its 35th consecutive wave. Similar results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.


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

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Filed under Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Devices, Market Research, Market Sizing, Notebooks, Smartphones, Statistics, Tablets, Tech Market, TUP 2013, TUP 2014, TUP 2015, TUP 2016, TUP 2017, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

Pocket full of fun – Entertainment Activities (MetaFAQs)

Which is more fun – the one-trick-pony device that does one fun thing well, or the device you can use for many types of entertainment?

In India, the most-preferred connected device for fun is a Smartphone or Basic feature phone. Connected adults in India find more ways than those in other countries to entertain themselves with their Mobile Phones. Their breadth of entertainment activities is greater than with their PCs or Tablets.

This is based on our most recent wave of research – the MetaFacts Technology User Profile (TUP) 2017 edition.

Unlike Connected Adults around the world in other countries, in India, Smartphones are used for a unique set of Entertainment Activities.

Well more than half of India’s Connected Adults use their Smartphones for music and movies. Watching videos/movies and listening to music on one’s Smartphone are regular activities at more than a third higher share of Connected Adults.

In contrast, when Germans use their connected devices for Entertainment Activities, they prefer their PCs. And when they use their PCs for Entertainment, most Germans use a PC to play a game (39% of Connected Adults), Hobbies (38%), and to watch videos/movies (37%). Very practical, those Germans, to use the larger screens of PCs.

Tablets have yet to make their way as being the most-entertaining connected device. Although Tablets are growing in regular use throughout the world, only in the U.S. and U.K. do they account for more than one-tenth of the preferred entertainment device.

Looking ahead

Entertainment continues to remain one of the reasons why people use connected devices. As both wired and wireless networks continue to expand their speed, this has made for more enjoyable experiences, especially for bandwidth-hogging activities such as watching movies or television. Similarly, as wireless carriers such as T-Mobile in the U.S. have removed or reduced data caps, this has reduced barriers for many customers. Consequently, these types of entertainment activities have reached a broader swath of consumers. Consumers continue to be the leading innovators in finding ways to get to the content they want, meaning they’ll consider moving beyond the devices they’re using today.


This MetaFAQ is based on TUP 2017 WW table 580 ACT_ENTxCOUNTRY – Entertainment Activities by Country. This is based on our most recent research among 13,572 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2017 survey.

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

Many other related research answers are part of the TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP sections with the most information about Notebook/Laptop PC use by country is the Technology User Profile Chapter.

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 Basic cell phones, Desktops, Entertainment, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Smartphones, TUP 2017

Online and Offline seniors – Hidden in Plain Sight

Online and offline seniors – hidden in plain sight

The number of actively connected seniors continues to rise, even while their connection rate has stalled. Also, seniors are very active with their connected devices, from PCs to Tablets and Smartphones.

There are more American seniors online than ever before. This is primarily due to two factors – rapid mobile phone adoption and the growing number of seniors in the U.S. Population. Based on our Technology User Profile (TUP) 2017 survey, nearly 44 million adults age 62 and older actively using a PC, Tablet, Mobile Phone, or Game Console to connect to the Internet.

A market segment often overlooked or derided by the tech industry, seniors have been increasingly embracing technology, weaving it into the fabric of their lives.

Mobile phones are hot among older adults, especially Smartphones. Tablet and Smartphone usage has soared among Americans age 62 and above, rising 49% and 47% per year, respectively, between 2013 to 2017. In 2013, the number of active Tablet users age 62 and over was under 4 million, and in 2017 that number is 19.1 million seniors. Similarly, Smartphone use has grown from less than 6 million adults age 62 and over in 2013 to 26.8 million in 2017.

Notebook PC use has also grown, while overall PC use has remained essentially flat. Mobile PC use has grown 20.4% per year from 2013 to 2017. Use of at least one PC has increased 1.8% per year from 2013 to 2017.

Getting connected has outpaced population growth. Only a small part of these growth rates is due to the growing population of seniors. The US Census projected that the number of Americans age 65 and above grew 3.3% per year from 2013 to 2016. During this same period, the number of Connected Adults age 65 and above grew 5.6% per year. The current number of 43.4 million adults regularly using an Internet-connected PC, Tablet, Mobile Phone, or Game Console is up from 35.7 million in 2013. In other words, one in five (20%) Connected Adults in the US are age 62 and above.

The rapid growth of Smartphone use among seniors is due in part to the many of these adults who have given up their old data-free basic cell phones. However, that’s not the entire story. Overall mobile phone adoption has grown. Between 2013 to 2017, mobile phones are in the hands of 20.5 million more adults age 62 or above.

Not to be underestimated

Seniors are big tech spenders. The average annual household technology spending by adults 62 and older is $6.6k. Among slightly older adults 65 and older, the average is slightly less at $6.5k per year for all technology devices and services. Like their younger counterparts, the majority of tech spending by older adults is for services, from cable TV and smartphone service to Internet connections.

More than healthcare

Often seniors are overlooked with the uninformed belief that they are not active with their connected devices, or only focused on healthcare. Although not as active as younger connected adults, seniors are busy with their connected devices.

More than 50% of connected adults age 62 and older around the world use their primary connected device for nearly every type of activity: from Communication, Shopping, Information & Search, and Personal/Productivity, to Entertainment. One reason that seniors may be thought to be less active is their relatively lower presence on Social Networks, making them less visible. This is based on our Technology User Profile 2017 survey across five countries (US, Germany, India, UK, and China). In China and India, connected seniors 62 and older.

Searching online for healthcare information is a major activity for half of seniors using their primary connected device, although it’s the fifth-ranked activity. Even more widespread are activities such as shopping, staying in touch, on top of finances, and current events.

Looking ahead

I expect connected seniors to continue to expand their use of their technology, while unconnected seniors will remain unconnected. Those already connected will follow the path of younger adults and these senior’s younger selves, finding evermore ways to enjoy and utilize each type of technology they’ve adopted. Among  unconnected seniors, the flattened connection rates isn’t likely to spike soon with the current approaches. Although many organizations from retailers to hospitals are nearly demanding that all their clients all interact online, force isn’t working. Unconnected adults are not being served, or organizations are needing to rely on connecting through traditional methods: postal mail, landline phones, and personal visits. Senior non-users are unlikely to respond to the benefits that attracted younger adults online in the first place. Instead, new approaches are needed.

In the meantime, don’t be surprised to see more active seniors toting Smartphones and Tablets.


The information in this TUPdate is based on the most recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP) – the TUP 2017 wave into the US, UK, Germany, India, and China. Current TUP subscribers can tap into these and additional similar results about seniors and younger adults. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.


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Filed under Behaviors and Activities, Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Market Segmentation, Smartphones, Statistics, Tablets, Trends, TUP 2015, TUP 2016, TUP 2017, TUPdate

Clouds Forming (TUPdate)

Clouds Forming – A TUPdate by Dan Ness, April 13, 2017

The terms “free” and “unlimited” continue to entice consumers and employees alike, in offers of faster bandwidth to larger data storage. The promise of enormous, convenient, and always-available storage space is helping Google, Apple, and Microsoft attract and retain customers within their fold. It’s also helping Amazon and the many other dedicated Cloud Storage/Sharing services, even while many offerings may be risking consumer and corporate security and privacy.

Cloud Storage and Sharing services have tapped into core needs, reaching a high share of American adult consumers and employees. We Americans like our stuff, and we love convenience. As surely as we pile clutter into garages and self-storage facilities, we accumulate countless zettabytes of images, music, movies, pre-binged TV episodes, documents, among other files. We also want to know our stuff is safe and can be easily retrieved whenever and wherever we want it. Continue reading

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Filed under Cloud Storage, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Operating systems, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Usage Patterns