Category Archives: Households

Alone Americans – Overlooked Technology Users? [TUPdate]

Sometimes the slow-moving trends are the ones that get missed. Coupled with preconceived notions, these have the makings of blind spots. For many tech companies, single-person American households may be an overlooked market segment.

Based on research by the U.S. Census and our TUP/Technology User Profile service, 1-person American households are a sizable and growing segment with more to them than may be apparent at first. Also, they are not created equally, especially in which technology products and services they actively use.

Tech marketers often advertise with images of bustling families juggling their lives and devices. Soccer moms abound. This perpetuates a myth that’s leaving many out in the less connected and underserved cold. Furthermore, many companies from Amazon to Spotify and T-Mobile have created family plans that financially favor multi-person households, making their offerings less attractive to the many 1-person households.

While it makes sense for any marketers to focus on the biggest-seeming opportunities, and families are big tech consumers, sometimes this is done out of habit or custom, which may mean missing opportunities.

The number of single-person households has grown in share and number

The US Census reports that single-person households make up 28% of households in 2018, up substantially up from 13% in 1960. Similarly, the number of households has also grown, at 35.7 million in 2018, up from 6.9 million in 1960. Whether through preference or necessity, 1-person households are a substantial slice of the American market. Most forecasts indicate the share remaining stable for years to come.

On First Glance, 1-Person Households Seem Tech-Avoidant

When it comes to the devices Americans in 1-person households use, our TUP/Technology User Profile service shows that as a group, they’re behind the curve. American 1-person households appear to be languishing in technology’s past. They are 27% more likely than the average online American adult to still be using a home PC using Windows 7, the Microsoft operating systems nearing its end of life. The replacement for Windows Vista officially came off Microsoft’s mainstream support four years ago – in January 2015. Extended support has been available, yet that support is scheduled to be discontinued in less than one year, by January 2020. Also, 1-person households are well above average (22% higher than average) in their use of a home-owned basic feature phone.

In contrast, American households where children are present have well above-average rates of using many key devices – Windows tablets, game consoles, and Apple Notebooks. This simple view may clarify why some companies prefer to simply tailor their products and services to larger households and avoid smaller ones.

However, looking more deeply into 1-person households, there’s more than household size and core technology that reveals their differences.

A Deeper Look – Young and Old Singles

Within 1-person households, there’s a striking difference between younger and older adults in the profile of their technology usage. The highest usage index for Windows 7 home PCs is among older (age 35+) singles, at 48% higher than the national average. Similarly, there’s an index of 131 for use of a home-owned basic feature phone.

In stark contrast, among younger 1-person households, usage is strongly higher for many key technology devices: game consoles, Apple iPhones, Apple PCs (Macs), Apple notebooks, and Windows tablets.

However, age alone does not adequately describe 1-person households and their technology usage, nor does combining age and household size. There are yet other factors.

Size, Age, and Employment Status

Drilling down into the TUP/Technology User Profile results even more deeply, the combination of household size, age group, and employment status shows even stronger differences.

Have a job – part-time or full-time or even self-employed – and be younger than 40, and you’ll be among the highest technology adopters among 1-person households.

They are above average in using a Windows or Android Tablet, an Apple PC, iPhone, and game console.

The lowest technology adopters are those not employed outside the household and in 1-person households, both younger and older. These have the highest relative levels of using Windows 7 home PCs and home basic cell phones.

Family Plans Aren’t Only Used by Families

Interestingly, even while family/multi-person plans are ostensibly targeted at larger households, a substantial number of 1-person households are using them.

Nearly one-fourth (24%) of 1-person households have a smartphone plan with 2 or more lines. Similarly, “family” paid media subscriptions such as for music or TV are being used by 18% of America adults in 1-person households.

Looking ahead

Shifts in population may seem glacial especially by those in technology industries who are accustomed to frequent shifts. People change their living situations less quickly than they change their adoption of technology. Consequently, technology companies would be better served, as would 1-person households, to the extent these users are included in their offerings.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from the 2018 wave of TUP (Technology User Profile), 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.

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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, Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Households, Market Research, Market Segmentation, Market Sizing, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2018, Usage Patterns

The Persistent PC – With A Perennial Core [TUPdate]

Americans continue to hang on to PCs as they expand their collection of actively connected devices. Instead of Tablets and Smartphones fully replacing PCs, they have added to the mix. Even so, the most-dedicated core of PC has settled to a stable size following the shift.

This is based on the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile study waves from 2009 through 2018, collectively based on research results from 77,847 respondents.

The PC-intensive have shrunk in numbers over the years, establishing a solid minority. The most intensive – Adults with more PCs than people in their household – has coalesced into a core 10% of American adults. Moderate-intensity users – those with as many PCs in use as persons in their household – have been stable over the last decade in representing around one in four adults. In 2018, 22% of online Americans had as many PCs as people in their household.

The drive to mobility has finished making its impact. The transition to notebooks over desktops peaked in 2012, while smartphones, and tablets to some extent, diminished the need for many adults to be using more than one PC. As the lines continue to be blurred between tablets and PCs, and in other ways smartphones and tablets, users will increasingly focus on their activities. Rather than looking at devices first, users will make choices based on what it will take for them to get done that which they want to do.

Profile of the many-PC users

Adults with many PCs are generally younger than average and with a higher socioeconomic status. Almost two-thirds (65%) of adults actively using 3 or more PCs are college graduates, in contrast to 44% of online adults nationwide. Most (86%) are employed or self-employed, versus 61% nationwide. Over half (52%) are millennials (age 22-37/born 1981-1996) versus making up 34% of online adults nationwide. Also, 59% have annual household incomes of $75,000 or more (versus 38% nationwide) and over half (56%) have children in the households (versus 37% nationwide).

More adults who rely on a single PC choose HP. HP’s home PC share of the installed base among those adults using only one PC is 31%, followed by Dell’s share of 25%.

Looking Ahead

PCs are a present and vital part of the online user’s experience. This is likely to continue well into the future, although the definition of a PC is continuing to evolve. Users have expanded their activities across their many and multiple devices, broadly accepting multi-platform software supported by cloud storage. From tablets adding capabilities traditionally the province of PCs and notebooks adding abilities previously limited to smartphones or tablets, the definitions of device types is shifting. However, users continue to embrace change, shifting their device usage patterns more slowly than they discontinue their older devices. HP and Dell have strong brand share and inertia, and yet face strong challenges ahead as users shift from doing what they’ve done with PCs, and increasingly embrace multiple devices and platforms.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from multiple waves of TUP (Technology User Profile), including 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.

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, Consumer research, Devices, Households, Market Research, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Multiple-PC Household, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate

Are we exclusive? An update on ecosystem exclusivity, dominance, and non-exclusivity [TUPdate]

Do customers act on ecosystems, choosing to focus within a brand’s family for their products and services? How many technology users are exclusive, or at least favor one over another?

Only one in eight (12%) of online adults around the world are truly exclusive, using products and services from only one of either Apple, Google, or Microsoft. This is based on the most recent wave of the MetaFacts TUP survey (Technology User Profile 2018), conducted among 14,273 online adults.

Nearly twice as many actively use a balanced mixture of ecosystems. True non-exclusivity is being actively practiced by one-fourth (25%) of online adults. (see the Methodology below for details on the segmentation approach used in this analysis.)

The largest group of users is between exclusivity and non-exclusivity, slightly favoring one ecosystem while still actively using at least one other. Over six in ten (62%) of online adults are in these segments. The Google-Dominant segment is on par with the Apple-Dominant segment, each representing one in five online adults.

Apple’s most-focused are more broadly invested in Apple’s ecosystem than are Google’s or Microsoft’s best. Most of Apple’s strength is supported by their connected devices – iPhones, iPads, and Macs to a lesser extent. The Apple-Exclusive (3% of online adults) use an average of 2.3 connected devices, and among the Apple-Dominant, this average is 2.1 devices. Use of voice assistant Apple Siri is the second-most component among the Apple-Exclusive, and also tied for second place among the Apple-Dominant. The Apple-Dominant are equally active with Microsoft devices, primarily Windows PCs.

The Google-Exclusive (3% of online adults) only use 1.4 Google devices on average, primarily an Android smartphone. Android tablets and Chromebooks aren’t as widely used among the Google-Exclusive as are Apple’s devices among the Apple-Exclusive.

The Microsoft-Exclusive (6% of online adults) show a pattern of entrenchment. Only Microsoft devices are in use besides some nominal use of Microsoft Cortana or Xbox consoles. The Microsoft-Dominant are a bit more exploratory, including a small number of Google devices and some use of Microsoft Cortana.

Profile of the Ecosystem Exclusivity Segments

Each ecosystem has appealed to very different groups of people, especially with respect to life stage. While Apple’s most-exclusive users have a higher share (44%) of younger adults with children, nearly half (48%) of Google’s most-exclusive users are not employed outside the home and don’t have children. This bodes well for Apple’s services and devices that bring extra value to families, such as Apple’s Family Sharing feature, which enables a way to share music, books, cloud storage and other Apple services between multiple users.

The Microsoft-Exclusive segment is singular, with nearly a third (32%) of its members being in a one-person household. The Apple and Google segments are relatively similar to each other, although Google’s have slightly more household members.

Looking ahead

It’s increasingly a multi-device, multi-person world. Sharing between one’s devices and platforms will continue to grow as a user need, as will sharing with others between disparate ecosystems. Although companies may aim for exclusivity, interoperability is more important. It involves the largest part of the market. Exclusive users will remain a small group of loyal fans willing and able to narrow their choices. Although the non-exclusive make up a sizable segment, the future will be with the ecosystem-dominant.

Methodology

For this analysis, we defined ecosystem exclusivity, dominance, and non-exclusivity as follows:

  • Exclusivity – all of the user’s connected devices, items, services, and voice assistants are in the same operating system family
  • Dominant – more of the user’s devices, items, services, and voice assistants use one ecosystem more than others
  • Non-Exclusive – none of the ecosystems is used more than any others

We drew on the TUP data to identify a broad range of offerings within Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon ecosystems.

  • Connected devices – smartphones, tablets, PCs, or game consoles, using Apple iOS, MacOS, Google ChromeOS, Google Android, Google-branded, or Microsoft Windows
  • Services – Music/Video (Apple Music, Prime Video (in Amazon Prime), Prime Music (in Amazon Prime), Amazon Music Unlimited, Google Play Music)
  • Items – TV set-top boxes (Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google TV/Android TV, Google Nexus Player, Google ChromeCast), speakers (Amazon Echo, Amazon Spot or Dot, Amazon Show, Google Home, Google Max or Mini, Apple HomePod), Game Consoles (Microsoft Xbox One X, Microsoft Xbox One, Microsoft Xbox 360, Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Other), smartwatches (Apple Watch, Android Watch)
  • Voice assistants – active use of a voice assistant (Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana) through a connected device

The segmentation approach was a simple categorization based on the accumulation of the above attributes. Each device, service, item or voice assistant was given an equal weight.

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 those acquired with home/personal funds to those that are owned by employers, schools, or others. From these, we selected adults who are using at least one home PC.

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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 Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Game Consoles, Households, Market Research, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Smart speakers, Smartphones, Smartwatches, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate

Technology Spending – Beyond Owned Gadgets

Technology Spending – Beyond Owned Gadgets – A MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, March 30, 2017

Tech spending – it’s mostly driven by living in the moment, through month-to-month subscriptions and on-demand content. Spending on tech devices, while substantial, is only a fraction of annual household spending. Also, the biggest spenders are few in number.

During the full year of 2015, 90% of household technology spending was for services and 10% for devices. Total household tech spending averaged $7.9 thousand for the year. Most of this spending was concentrated among the top 25% of spenders. In 2015, the Top Quartile of adults spent $23.6 thousand on average for technology services and devices.

For these biggest tech spenders, services make up 93% of the technology spend. This is in contrast to the Bottom Quartile of spenders, whose spending is more equally balanced, with 63.6% going for services and 36.4% for devices.

After users have acquired their tech devices, bigger spenders add more technology services, and the services they use cost more than those chosen by lesser spenders. The Bottom Quartile of tech spenders are more likely to use fewer services and rely on fewer or unpaid connections, whether in libraries, cybercafés, or workplaces. Also, users in the Bottom Quartile are more likely to actively use Refurbished devices than bigger spenders. Continue reading

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Filed under Consumer research, Desktops, Households, Market Research, Market Sizing, Notebooks, Smartphones, TUP 2016, TUPdate

Who spends most on tech – older or younger adults? (MetaFAQs)

In many tech circles, there’s a strong attention on the youngest adults. How true is it that younger adults spend more than older adults?

Our research shows that when it comes to household tech spending, age matters, although it’s not that simple.

First of all, while the youngest adults often are the most enthusiastic about technology, they don’t have the same financial means of older adults.

The majority of household tech spending is among adults age 30-39.metafacts-mqxxxx-tech-spending-x-age-2016-11-01_07-51-20

More importantly, when adjusting for employment status – including the self-employed – the analysis is clearer. Employed adults out-spend those not employed from ages 25 to 54.

There’s a “late life kicker” that’s important to note. After age 60, household tech spending is stronger among those not employed than those employed. Also, although employment rates decline with age, total household tech spending is stronger among the age 65-69 group than the age 55-59.

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. Specifically for this analysis, we looked at household tech spending along 15 categories of technology devices and services, from PCs, printers, and routers to Internet and mobile phone service.

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 User Profile Chapter, which includes sections more deeply analyzing by age and life stage.

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 Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Households, Market Research, MetaFAQs, TUP 2016