Category Archives: Trends

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

Hold the phone – PCs rebound for communication among one segment (MetaFAQs)

Which segment uses which device for their primary communication device more than a Smartphone or Basic cell phone?metafacts-metafaqs-mq0065-mobile-phone-primacy-for-communication-by-segment-2016-11-08_09-34-11

None do, although one segment shows a counter trend. Mobile phones – especially Smartphones – are the primary communications devices for all age/employment segments. This has been a growing trend for the last several years, and 2014 marked the last year the PC was king for communications among any segment. In 2015, the last group to focus on mobile phones for their spoken, visual, and written communications activities was the segment of adults age 50 and above and who are not employed.

However, one segment has made a reversal of that phone-only trend. Employed adults age 18-39 have started to increase their use of PCs as their primary communications device. While mobile phones still lead, this shift may be surprising to some.

Looking more deeply into what this segment is doing by drilling down into the TUP activities data by device type, two activities stand out. Young employed adults are increasingly making web-based group meetings and video calls. From Slack to Skype and for work and personal matters, this segment is using these activities at nearly twice the national rate.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0065-primary-communiction-device-for-employed-younger-2016-11-08_09-34-11

To be clear, the PC has not returned to primacy for communication among younger employed adults. However, collaboration has sparked some renewed life in the old workhorse.

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

Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapters with the most information about communication activities is the TUP 2016 Activities 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 Communication, Convertibles, Desktops, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Smartphones, Trends, TUP 2016

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

 

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Filed under Consumer research, Graphics and Image, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Printers, Smartphones, Tablets, Trends, TUP 2016, TUPdate

Buying Behavior – solid market research from MetaFacts Technology User Profile

Extensive information about buying behavior is available in TUP – Technology User Profile.

The retail adage: “buyers vote with their feet” is a reflection of old thinking, just as “new buyers vote with their mouse clicks” shows the same partial thinking. Up-to-date technology marketers and researchers know well how important it is to understand the full view of buyers. Consumers are influenced by many screens – and only having one view misses out on the true picture. After all, buyers have many choices and demonstrate time and time again their willingness to change.

Consumers have expanded, contracted, sidestepped, and evolved their buying behaviors. Retail has defied the proclamations of its doom and yet is not what it used to be. As tech buyers continue to change their tastes and preferences, they have tried many different types of channels. The changes are far from over.

Below are a few examples of questions addressed in TUP related to buying behavior. The full TUP service enables drilling down beyond the answers to these questions to identify which other technologies, services and behaviors are disruptive and to profile which market segments are and aren’t adopting. TUP is much more than a one-dimensional market view or opinion piece.

  • Who are the biggest tech spenders? Which segments spend the most and least for devices? How does spending for tech services differ?
  • Who are the people who shop for technology products on the web, but purchase at a local retail outlet?
  • How do consumer attitudes about purchasing technology differ between Apple, Hewlett Packard and Dell customers?
  • To what extent do tech shoppers focus on certain channels for certain products versus staying with a smaller number of outlets?
  • Who is printing coupons?
  • Which tech buyers focus more on retail than shopping online and vice versa?
  • Online shoppers – are they everyone, or unique?
  • Are Apple’s retail shoppers already the Apple-faithful or is Apple drawing in the unconverted? Who are these shoppers?
  • Where do people buy their printer supplies?
  • Who is buying the highest-end PCs? Are there brand differences? What else do users buy and what else do they use?
  • How do online shopping activities differ between Hewlett Packard, Apple and Dell customers?
  • Where are printer users buying their printer supplies? Are these the same channels as where they buy their printers?
  • How many screens do people view? Which market segments view more screens than other segments?
  • How strong is name-brand dominance?
  • What is the frequency of printer consumables purchase?
  • Is the smartphone killing PC shopping?
  • What other items (printers, software, monitors/displays, extended service plan, etc.) do people typically buy with their PC purchase?
  • How prominent is Home PC renting versus outright purchase?
  • What channels do people use for buying PCs? How about printers and printer supplies? How do Best Buy customers compare to Office Depot of Staples shoppers?
  • What’s typically bundled with a PC?
  • Who spends the most hours online?
  • Who is using mobile payments?
  • How are Facebook users different from users of other Social Networks? Beside demographics, what else distinguishes these from each other?
  • Beyond paper or plastic: which types of ink & toner are printer users buying? New or refilled? Original or competitor?
  • What about the anti-social – those that aren’t in an online social network? Who are they? In what other ways are they actively communicating and having fun? How does their spending profile compare?
  • What is the status of mobile phone transition, from basic feature phones to smartphones and non-users?
  • What do users sync or “store” in the cloud? How do users share images – social networking sites or photo-specific sites? Which users are the most active?
  • Entertainment primacy – what is the center of the user’s home entertainment world? Is it one device or many? Which devices and services, and among which segments?
  • Used/Refurbished PCs – who buys them?
  • How many seniors are online? How is their behavior different than younger online users?
  • How much have PC users integrated PCs into their personal lives?
  • Which combination of tech devices is the most popular today? How large is each segment? Who are in each segment? Which direction are they headed with their buying plans?
  • How are users communicating, given all their communication options?
  • Which social networks show the most growth-oriented activity? Which segments show signs of losing interest or withdrawing?
  • Do mobile PC users print differently than desktop users? Do the more-mobile use more or fewer printers? Do the more-mobile print different content?
  • Which segments have recently paid for a downloaded mobile phone app?
  • What is the impact on privacy concerns on use of social networking?
  • How does the life and lifespan of a PC vary by form factor? Does it vary by brand? By user segment? By tech spending behavior?

If solid answers to any of these example questions would help your work in creating the future, please contact MetaFacts.

MetaFacts, Inc. helps technology marketers find and measure their best and future customers.

Current subscribers of Technology User Profile may obtain this information directly from MetaFacts, as well as additional customized drilling down into the full datasets.

For more information on the results delivered in TUP and about how to subscribe, please contact MetaFacts.

The above questions are answered with the TUP 2012 edition, and most are also answered in the TUP 2011 edition for ready trend comparison.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Statistics, Tech Market, Trends, TUP 2011, TUP 2012

Technology Consumer Demographics – solid market research from MetaFacts Technology User Profile

Extensive information about technology consumer demographics is available in TUP – Technology User Profile.

It’s not enough to know that someone may buy your product or service – it’s vital to know who and how many. True technology marketers and researchers know well how important it is to understand their current and future customers.

Often, the fabled early adopters have had a different demographic makeup than expected, causing serious mistakes and disconnects. The changes are far from over.

Below are a few examples of questions addressed in TUP related to technology consumer demographics. The full TUP service enables drilling down beyond the answers to these questions to identify which other technologies, services and behaviors are disruptive and to profile which market segments are and aren’t adopting. TUP is much more than a one-dimensional market view or opinion piece.

  • Age-related market adoption – which products and services are age-skewed? Which are skewed toward older rather than younger users?
  • Who are the true early adopters and laggards? How does this vary by actual usage of specific products and technologies?
  • Multitasking – who’s using many devices for many activities, versus few devices for many activities? How do user segments vary by quadrant?
  • How many seniors are online? How is their behavior different than younger online users?
  • Which smartphone OS is leading, and with which market segments?
  • Do PC users behave differently as they gain more experience? Are Newbies or Vets mostly focusing on certain activities versus a broad mixture?
  • Tech adoption cycles may not be as fast as the tech-focused think. How many and which users still use older tech products?
  • Is social networking only for certain age groups?
  • How do the market segments of mobile phone platforms vary? How does compare to Tablets and other key devices?
  • How does PC and online usage vary across segments such as workplace company size or industry?
  • What about the anti-social – those that aren’t in an online social network? Who are they? In what other ways are they actively communicating and having fun? How does their spending profile compare?
  • Entertainment primacy – what is the center of the user’s home entertainment world? Is it one device or many? Which devices and services, and among which segments?
  • Do Apple users “grow up and give up” their Apple? When do they get one again, if they do?
  • What is the impact on privacy concerns on use of social networking?
  • How much of the game-playing population is older versus younger?
  • What do most people do with their mobile phone as compared to their PC? Which user segments align with which platforms?
  • Who is printing coupons?
  • Who’s busiest – desktop users or notebook users? How do their profiles differ?
  • How central is game-playing to the general population? How about within certain key market segments?
  • Who is buying the highest-end PCs? Are there brand differences? What else do users buy and what else do they use?
  • Most-mobile customers – where do they go and what do they do?
  • Who spends the most hours online?
  • Which segments are the most music-intensive? What is the overlap of music-centered products and services by segment?
  • How tech-experienced are game-players?
  • How much have PC users integrated PCs into their personal lives?
  • How has the division of work vs. personal use of technology products continued to blur?
  • Are PC users primarily accessing the Internet at home, in the workplace, using friends or neighbor’s computers, or in public places such as libraries or cybercafés? Which users use other’s PCs and which have many to choose from?
  • What types and combinations of consumer electronics are homes using?
  • How many and which segments are watching and renting movies on which platforms?
  • How do market segments vary in demand opportunities for tech products and services?
  • To what extent do tech shoppers focus on certain channels for certain products versus staying with a smaller number of outlets?
  • Which market segments are dating online?
  • What else do they frequently do online? Have game-players been the first to adopt new products such as the Apple iPhone? Or, are they generally later adopters?
  • Which social networking sites are used most frequently by which segments?
  • How tech-sophisticated are game-players, within key gaming segments?
  • To what extent does game-playing drive online usage specifically and tech usage overall?
  • Special printer paper? Who uses it and what for? Is it only photos, or something else?
  • Which market segments are blogging? How do they compare to social networkers?
  • How are users communicating, given all their communication options?
  • How do consumer attitudes about purchasing technology differ between Apple, Hewlett Packard and Dell customers?
  • Do mobile PC users print differently than desktop users? Do the more-mobile use more or fewer printers? Do the more-mobile print different content?
  • Which PC brands dominate the PC market? How does this vary within market segment?
  • Are Apple’s best customers really unique?
  • What about the unemployed? Are they more or are they less tech-focused?
  • What do users sync or “store” in the cloud? How do users share images – social networking sites or photo-specific sites? Which users are the most active?
  • What are the attitudes about texting and driving? Who is most supportive and who is mostly opposed?
  • How is HP’s PC penetration within the overall HP footprint?
  • How PC/Online & Mobile Phone activities compare? How is this different for Tablets or eBook Readers? Which segments use which device for the most activities?
  • Beyond paper or plastic: which types of ink & toner are printer users buying? New or refilled? Original or competitor?
  • Which industry groups have varied levels of tech product adoption?
  • Which tech buyers focus more on retail than shopping online and vice versa?
  • What is the status of mobile phone transition, from basic feature phones to smartphones and non-users?
  • How rich is the user’s printing experience? Do they use only one printer or more than one? For multi-printer users, which ones do they use? Who are the most-active printer users?
  • Who is videoconferencing, and using which platform?
  • Tracfone for oldsters? Who has the oldest segment by carrier?
  • How are Facebook users different from users of other Social Networks? Beside demographics, what else distinguishes these from each other?
  • Do game players bring their gaming with them into the workplace? To what extent? Which market segment does this the most?
  • Which combination of tech devices is the most popular today? How large is each segment? Who are in each segment? Which direction are they headed with their buying plans?
  • How does the life and lifespan of a PC vary by form factor? Does it vary by brand? By user segment?
  • Which social networks show the most growth-oriented activity? Which segments show signs of losing interest or withdrawing?
  • Are Apple’s retail shoppers already the Apple-faithful or is Apple drawing in the unconverted? Who are these shoppers?
  • Who are the biggest tech spenders? Which segments spend the most and least for devices? How does spending for tech services differ?
  • iPhone users – who are they really? How do they compare with Android and Blackberry users?
  • Which segments are keeping their files, calendars, or other information synchronized or backed up online?
  • How prominent is Home PC renting versus outright purchase?
  • Primacy – what is the center of the user’s world? Their home PC, work PC, mobile phone? Is it one device or many?

If solid answers to any of these questions would help your work in creating the future, please contact MetaFacts.

MetaFacts, Inc. helps technology marketers find and measure their best and future customers.

Current subscribers of Technology User Profile may obtain this information directly from MetaFacts, as well as additional customized drilling down into the full dataset.

For more information on the results delivered in TUP and about how to subscribe, please contact MetaFacts.

The above questions are answered with the TUP 2012 edition, and most are also answered in the TUP 2011 edition for ready trend comparison.

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Filed under Consumer research, Households, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Statistics, Tech Market, Trends, TUP 2011, TUP 2012