How and Where PCs and Tablets Are Used Differently Than Smartphones [TUPdate]

People love their Smartphones and find more to do with them than PCs or Tablets. Around the world, there are few activities done with PCs as regularly as are done with Smartphones. Furthermore, there are no activities done more so on Tablets than on either Smartphones or PCs. Usage profiles vary somewhat by country. Online adults in the U.S. use their connected devices differently than users in many other countries.

These findings are based on the TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 study of 14,273 online adults in the US, UK, Germany, India, and China. Of the more-than 70 activities in the TUP survey tied to each device, we identified those with the widest range of regular use across devices – defined as the difference between the maximum and minimum usage level between Smartphone, PC, and Tablet users.

MetaFacts TUPdate 1901 18GL Activities Preferred By Each Form 190111_0843

The versatility of smartphones is shown by how much more often they’re the device of choice for nearly every type of activity, from shopping to social networking and fun. The range of activity use is as high as 65% – in the case of making and receiving personal phone calls.

Smartphones are being used the most widely for device-unique activities. The four major activities for smartphones – personal phone calls, taking pictures, text messaging, and storing one’s contacts – are infrequently done on a PC or Tablet. Although the newest tablets have cameras that approach the quality of those on Smartphones, less than a quarter (22%) are being used to take pictures. Also, despite being able to run apps such as WhatsApp or WeChat on Tablets or PCs, phone calls are primarily on Smartphones, even while personal video calls have made inroads on non-phone devices.

PCs are mostly being used for email (personal or work), online shopping (bigger screens entice buyers), and online banking. Tablets are mostly being used for social networking and music listening.

There is a small amount of crossover of activity usage across devices. Two of the major activities for Smartphones are also leading ones on Tablets – adding photos to social media and commenting on other’s images or comments.

American adults use their devices somewhat differently than users in other countries. In addition to personal and work email, PCs are used more often than Smartphones or Tablets for shopping, banking, finances/accounting, and writing.

Tablets are being used more like PCs than Smartphones. The major activities for Tablets, although with smaller percentages than PCs, are also among the major activities for PCs. Also, in the US, UK, and Germany, Tablets are used more often than either PCs or Smartphones for reading a book and making small purchases in person, such as in a coffee shop.

Where PCs Dominate
Smartphones aren’t the only connected device users actively use. There are many activities used at a higher rate on PCs than on Smartphones are tablets. Sending and checking both personal and work email are high on the list across all of the countries surveyed except for India. Also, writing and managing text documents is a PC-preferred activity except in India. In Germany, writing documents is an especially PC-dominant activity. Also, activities relating to using a printer are strongest when using a PC.

Looking ahead

Habits change slowly. Not only do people find effective ways to use connected devices to do what they want, they also show inertia when slowly moving those activities to a different device. Even those users who have multiple devices continue to use the types of devices they had previously for some time before fully embracing a type of device new to them.

Furthermore, there isn’t a single “silver bullet” device that’s preferred for all activities. For some activities, such as reading a book, shopping, or watching television, having a larger display helps. For other activities, such as receiving phone calls or texting, convenience and mobility are key.

We don’t expect the majority of users to concentrate all of their activities on a single device in the near future. Instead, the multi-device experience will continue. PCs may continue to lose their dominance for the many activities they still dominate. Dedicated PC users may just move more of their attention to tablets, especially those focused on passive activities such as social networking or television watching.

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. From the installed base we focused in on online adults and how they use a Smartphone, PC, or Tablet.

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, Cloud Storage, Communication, Consumer research, Desktops, Devices, Entertainment, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Market Research, Notebooks, Personal and Productivity, Shopping, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate, Usage Patterns, Video calling, Voice Assistant

How New Are Home Notebooks? [TUPdate]

Home consumers are moving to newer Notebook PCs, although in some countries, older ones get used longer.

Getting optimum value from one’s technology investment is a laudable goal, although at odds with having the latest and greatest.

The ever-practical Germans lead the way in keeping their notebooks longer than consumers in other countries. In the current installed base, the average German is using a Notebook PC that is 3.3 years old. Almost half (48%) of their notebooks were acquired in 2015 or earlier. By comparison, among adults in India, fewer than a quarter (22%) of home notebooks are that old.

This is based on results from the 2018 and 2017 waves of Technology User Profile (TUP).

Among online adults in India, the average Notebook PC age is 2.1 years, much newer than the average Notebook PC age of 2.4 years among online adults in China.

Historically, consumers around the world are replacing their Notebook PCs faster than ever. Among adults in the US, the mean age in 2015 was 3 years, and that has freshened up to 2.6 years in 2018.

Operating Systems

Some notebooks are used longer than others, especially between Windows and Apple. India has the newest home notebooks in active use, averaging 2.2 years young. There’s a similar profile in China, where the average is 2.3 years. Adults in Germany, however, are using the oldest home notebooks, averaging 3.3 years, a year older than those in India or China.

In all countries surveyed, Windows notebooks are the oldest, averaging 2.5 years, and newest in India and China and oldest in Germany. Although Google Chromebooks are the most recent market entrant, in India Apple home notebooks are newer. These products bear watching, even though market adoption is currently small, making up 1% of the current active installed based globally.

Looking ahead

Mobility has been a driving factor for many consumers, driven in large part by the value of convenience. Consequently, this demand has spurred technology companies to experiment with form factors from Smartphones to Tablets and convertibles. At the same time, PCs have been supported by demand for the simplicity of having all of one’s apps and data in one familiar place, while also having a screen that’s large enough to see easily.

We expect these core demands – convenience, consistency, visibility – to continue driving consumer’s choices. What will change is the shape and name of the package that best supports these factors – whether named notebook/laptop, convertible, 2-in-1, or even tablet.

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. From the installed base we focused in on online adults who were using a home notebook PC.

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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Age of Home Notebooks in the Installed Base

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