Category Archives: Market Sizing

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

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

How Do (They) Love Thee? Follow Their Brand Footprints

How Do (They) Love Thee? Follow Their Brand Footprints – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, March 17, 2017

“How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways.” So begins the 43rd of Elizabeth Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. After more than 160 years, this poetry still inspires.
This classic poem seems fitting for a research-based understanding of customer loyalty and, well, mutual loyalty and love. One might hope that love and loyalty would flow in both directions – between customers and company – and in turn would result in more delighted customers, better products and services, and more customers actively using more of a brand’s offerings. In addition to brand footprint measures such as market size and intensity, MetaFacts measures the shape, loyalty, and quality of technology users.

Apple’s Intensity Up and To the Right

Apple’s customers now rank highest in average number of Apple devices, an elemental measure of brand footprint, reflecting in part the intensity of customer’s involvement. When customers use more than one of a brand’s offerings, it reflects the value customers see and their depth of customer loyalty. Based on our most recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP), Apple’s customers are actively using an average of 2.18 devices, spanning Macs, iPhones, iPads, an Apple TV box, Apple Watch, or some combination. Only one year earlier, our TUP 2015 wave reported that Apple’s device average was effectively on par with the footprint of Microsoft Windows devices.
Between 2014 and 2016, HP and Google Android/Chrome OS devices have seen their customer’s active device averages erode as Apple’s has gained. This is due in part to consumers abandoning older Google Android Tablets. Dell’s average rose slightly in 2015, only to sag slightly by 2016. Continue reading

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Filed under Desktops, Devices, Market Research, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Operating systems, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate

Inexorable Device Trends – Beyond the Niche, Fad, and Fizzle

Inexorable Device Trends – Beyond the Niche, Fad, and Fizzle – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, March 10, 2017

It can be exciting to see the hockey-stick charts, with everything up and to the right. It’s important to put the numbers into context, though, through a more grounded analysis of the active installed base. Yes, Apple’s long-climb into broader use of their triumvirate is substantial, Smartphones are quickly replacing basic cell phones, and PCs and Printers persist. Their market size confirms their importance.

We humans are wired to notice change. Our very eyes send more information about motion than background. While life-saving should tigers head our way, this capability can be our undoing if we miss gradual changes, like the slithering snake in the grass creeping towards us. Watching an installed base of technology has some parallels. For some, it can seem as if nothing is really changing even while important shifts are taking place.

For over 35 years, I have tracked technology usage trends and profiles, all calibrated by watching customers through surveys such as our Metafacts Technology User Profile. Among other truisms, I’ve seen that true technology trends aren’t sudden. Solid trends are the summation of the habits, preferences, and activities of millions of technology users. They’re inescapable, inexorable, and years in the making. Trends become truly important when they’ve spread beyond being a niche, fad, or fizzle, and reached beyond those first few early adopters.

In this analysis, I’m diving into several key broad dominant trends in technology device usage across American adults. In separate analyses, I’ll drill deeper into the next level of TUP data, revealing which market segments are making the most decisive changes. Continue reading

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Filed under Basic cell phones, Consumer research, Desktops, Devices, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Operating systems, Printers, Smartphones, Trends, TUP 2016, TUPdate

What is the penetration of home-owned computing devices? (MetaFAQs)

Mobile phones dominate home-owned connected devices as the ones used by the greatest number of U.S. adults. As of our MetaFacts TUP 2016 US survey, 87% of U.S. adults used a smartphone or basic cell phone that was home-owned. Slightly trailing mobile phones, 81% of adults use a home PC. Media tablets are a distant third place, at 63% of U.S. adults.

MetaFacts defines home-owned devices as those which were acquired with personal funds. As released in our other MetaFacts TUP research, a substantial share of U.S. adults also use employer-provided, self-employment, school-owned, public, or other devices which are owned by someone other than themselves.metafacts-mq0137-250-dev_key-2017-02-22_09-32-36

Within mobile phones, home-owned smartphones outnumber home-owned basic cell phones, with nearly two-thirds (72%) of U.S. adults using a smartphone and just over one-fourth (27%) using a basic cell phone.

Among home PCs, desktops and Microsoft Windows PCs dominate. Home notebooks have grown to reach almost half (49%) of U.S. adults. Although the tech-savvy consider Windows XP and Vista PCs to be passé and even dangerously unprotected from malware, 4% of U.S. adults are still actively using Home PCs with these operating systems. While adoption of tech products can often be rapid, retirement of older technology from the active installed base can take much longer than many may expect. Continue reading

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Filed under Basic cell phones, Consumer research, Convertibles, Desktops, Devices, e-Book Readers, Market Research, Market Sizing, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Smartphones, Statistics, Tablets, TUP 2016