Category Archives: TUP 2015

Technology User Profile – 2015 Annual Edition

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

K-12 Children and Technology Spending

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst

Who can quantify the pride or commitment of a parent? On social networks, I often see a parent sharing their happiness about their child reaching an educational milestone.A proud father

One measure of parental pride, dedication, or support could include the investment they make in tools to help their children grow and learn. Technology spending among adults with children continues to increase, and especially so among those with younger school-age children.

As released in our most recent wave of Technology User Profile – TUP 2017 US – our research shows that spending on home technology devices and services has increased both in volume and breadth. The number of Connected Adults with school-age children has grown, and so has their average tech spending. In TUP 2015, we found that 72.5 million Connected Adults were in households with Children. That grew to 81.2 million, as ascertained in our TUP 2017 wave.k12 homes tech spending trends TUP 2017-15 171130_1200

The average (mean) annual amount spent on technology devices and services is strikingly stronger for households with children than for those without children. The average annual tech spend increased from $7.4k to nearly $11k within only the last two years – from the TUP 2015 to TUP 2017 survey. During this same time, homes without children increased their tech spending, although the growth has not been as substantial. Among adults with no children, average spending rose from $5.9k to $6.7k over those three study years.

Drilling down into the TUP data just a little deeper, I noticed a more interesting difference among households with children in their tech spending. Homes with younger school-age children (age 6-11) are spending the most on home technology devices and services. Meanwhile, households with either the oldest or the youngest children have increased spending, although not by as many dollars.k12 homes tech spending trends by age segment TUP 2017-15 171130_1215

While not all home technology is being bought solely for the use of kids, there’s a strong association. For example, more than one-in five (22%) adults with children in their household specifically print items for children/teen education.

Also, Connected Adults with school-age children (6-17) are 20% or more likely than the average to be using a Home All-in-One PC, Apple Home Mac, or Home Tablet.

Looking ahead

Parents have been some of the biggest tech spenders for decades, and this recent increase in investment bodes well for the tech market as well as for the next wave of children. Each successive generation has become more comfortable with and reliant on technology devices and services. I expect this momentum to continue as each new generation of new parents uses what they know to support their children’s education and future.


The information in this TUPdate is based on the three most recent waves of Technology User Profile (TUP) – the TUP 2015, 2016, and 2017 waves into the US. Current TUP subscribers can tap into these and additional similar results about adults with children in the UK, Germany, China, and India. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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Filed under Market Research, Market Segmentation, Personal and Productivity, TUP 2015, TUP 2016, TUP 2017

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.


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.

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Filed under Consumer research, Desktops, Market Research, Notebooks, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2015, TUPdate

LinkedIn – what Microsoft gets, doesn’t get, and what’s ahead (TUPdate)

Microsoft recently (June 13, 2016) announced it would be acquiring LinkedIn, the popular professional social network.

New MetaFacts research confirms that LinkedIn’s active members are indeed an attractive demographic, and yet there are headwinds ahead for Microsoft. Our recent Technology User Profile survey of over 10,000 respondents span the US, UK, France, Brazil, and China.

An attractive demographic

Active LinkedIn members stand head and shoulders above the average connected adult professional. In the US, they are 1.4 more likely than average to be employed full-time, and 1.6 times more likely than average to be a college graduate. They are also unique in their employment role, being 1.5 times as likely to be working in Marketing/Communications or in IT/IS, 1.4 times as likely to be a Specialist (e.g., design, engineering), 1.3 times a likely to be a contractor or IT Consultant, and 1.2 as likely to be an Executive or in an HR-related role. A similar pattern holds for the UK, France, Brazil, and China.

Microsoft’s ready access to this important population spells many opportunities for Microsoft, if managed well. With a service relying heavily on user-provided content, and with its members showing a high degree of sophistication, education, and strength, member trust and satisfaction will be especially vital to LinkedIn’s future.

Active Ad Blockers

To the extent Microsoft’s strategy involves increased advertising to LinkedIn members, it faces an existing and growing challenge. LinkedIn members are some of the world’s most advertising-averse. Forty-three percent of active US LinkedIn members use an Ad Blocker on at least one of their connected devices – PCs, Tablets, Smartphones – and in many cases have Ad Blockers on all of them. That is 1.3 times higher than the rate among the average connected adult. This is similar around the world – ranging from 1.1 to 1.5 times higher than average among active LinkedIn members in the UK, France, Brazil, and China.

Microsoft will need to continue to maintain the trust that active LinkedIn members have come to rely on. It’s possible they will whitelist ads on LinkedIn. It’s not as if LinkedIn has been specifically targeted by its members, it’s simply that its members are well above average in the practice of blocking ads across their devices. Adblocking has already been a significant challenge for media giants from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal as technology users increasingly take control over their experiences.

Apple-endearedApples and Apples

If part of Microsoft’s strategy is to encourage LinkedIn’s active members into (or back into) the Windows ecosystem, then it has a trend to reverse. LinkedIn’s active members are well-endeared and engaged with Apple’s devices and ecosystem. In the US, they are 1.8 times as likely as the average connected adult to be using four Apple OS devices, 1.5 times as likely to be using three, and 1.3 times as likely to be using two. Furthermore, LinkedIn’s members are 1.6 times as likely to be using an Apple mobile PC, 1.4 times as likely to be using an iPad, and 1.3 times as likely to be using an iPhone. This similar pattern holds true in the UK, France, Brazil, and China.

The Microsoft Graph

Major workplace activities used by active LinkedIn members per MetaFacts

Major workplace activities used by active LinkedIn members per MetaFacts

There’s another climb ahead for Microsoft – LinkedIn’s active members are already well on board with many of Microsoft’s types of professionally-oriented offerings, whether from Microsoft or competitors. So, growth ahead will be incremental, and less about mass introduction into new ways of working. With respect to these key workforce activities, this acquisition might be seen as a defensive retrenchment to hold off further encroachment by the likes of Google. At present, LinkedIn’s active US members are 1.8 times as likely as the average connected adult to already be using one of their connected devices to participate in a web-based group meeting, collaborate on work files, or create work graphics/presentations.

Other risks

Microsoft faces other risks. Imagine how a Google, Apple, or other leading-tech HR executive might consider Microsoft’s unprecedented access to their employees and projects. Any of Microsoft’s direct competitors are likely to have concerns about the depth and details Microsoft will have access to with the richness already in LinkedIn. Although Microsoft will undoubtedly take steps to reassure companies that their data is being held secure and not used directly for its own gain, trust will be a key concern for competitors. Some will likely step up their policies to prohibit or discourage user participation on LinkedIn.

The view ahead

At MetaFacts, where we directly measure active market demand, we contend that people matter first. If the members of LinkedIn feel their trust might be compromised, they may flee. Worldwide, there isn’t a single professional social network anywhere near the size or scope of LinkedIn. Rival xing has solid footing in German-speaking countries, while Viadeo is especially strong in France. Potentially, country-specific or language-specific competitors could grow, offering an independent haven for professional social networking. Instead of switching, members may trim their profiles, limit their participation, or simply cancel and close their profile.

Microsoft will need to reactivate the membership. In disclosures shared in the acquisition announcements, LinkedIn shared that of their reported 433 million members, 104 million were active within the prior month. This means less than one-fourth (24%) of its members are currently active. This low activity rate is the lowest of nine major US sites: Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, and Pinterest. Also, membership growth has increased faster than the share of members which are active, further highlighting the decline in member activity. Microsoft’s resources and support may help reverse those trends.


This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary from the Technology User Profile survey of adults 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. Current TUP subscribers can obtain additional analysis and supporting datasets at a substantial discount. Technology companies who want to know more about their current or future customers can contact MetaFacts to learn how to subscribe to the rich resources of Technology User Profile.


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Filed under Cloud Storage, Communication, Demographics & Econographics, Market Research, Market Sizing, Social Networking, TUP 2015, TUPdate, Usage Patterns, Video calling

Forward-Leaning Users Define the Future

Cloud-based home security and energy management are on the cusp of either fizzling as a fad or expanding to a wider market, based on our recent MetaFacts market research. Also, the pattern consumers are exhibiting spells niche status for the Apple Watch, iPod and Chromebook.

In our analysis of a broad range of consumers spanning five countries, we separated the most forward-learning from the backward-learning, as one of our methods to predict the future of technology products and services. The most adventurous consumers point the way for the rest of the market, with their willingness to try the newest technology.Courtesy Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ Creative Commons

While Apple can justly lay claim to the Forward-Leaning for favoring many of their products. For example, iPhone and MacBooks are strongest among both the first and second tier of Forward-Leaning consumers. In contrast, many other products have lingered and languished among the forward-learning. Unless accepted by the next tier of consumers, a replacement market is the best hope for advanced tech products. Continue reading

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Filed under Backward-Leaning, Basic cell phones, Cloud Storage, Communication, Convertibles, Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, e-Book Readers, Entertainment, Forward-Leaning, Market Research, Market Sizing, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, Technology adoption, TUP 2015, Usage Patterns