Tag Archives: Activities

Clouds Forming (TUPdate)

Clouds Forming – A TUPdate by Dan Ness, April 13, 2017

The terms “free” and “unlimited” continue to entice consumers and employees alike, in offers of faster bandwidth to larger data storage. The promise of enormous, convenient, and always-available storage space is helping Google, Apple, and Microsoft attract and retain customers within their fold. It’s also helping Amazon and the many other dedicated Cloud Storage/Sharing services, even while many offerings may be risking consumer and corporate security and privacy.

Cloud Storage and Sharing services have tapped into core needs, reaching a high share of American adult consumers and employees. We Americans like our stuff, and we love convenience. As surely as we pile clutter into garages and self-storage facilities, we accumulate countless zettabytes of images, music, movies, pre-binged TV episodes, documents, among other files. We also want to know our stuff is safe and can be easily retrieved whenever and wherever we want it.

Employed adults are especially strong users of Cloud Storage and Sharing services. Sixty-nine percent of employees actively use Cloud Storage/Sharing services, and their use is not restricted to personal files and documents. Almost half (47%) of employees back up work files/documents online and 43% use cloud Storage/Sharing services for work files. Employees love the convenience of ready access, even while their employers may have policies and guidelines to protect and restrict the use of corporate files on personal devices or offsite.

Employers have mixed feelings about consumer-class Cloud Storage/Sharing services, while employees have charged ahead. About 15 years ago, I was moderating some focus group with IT Managers. We were measuring their responses to a unique device to back up files on their employee’s mobile PCs. It was almost funny to hear their inner conflicts. At first, the IT managers strongly stated that user files were essential to their employer and job, so must be backed up. They shared horror stories of execs having lost critical files, often at early morning hours in distant locations. Later in the discussion, however, these same IT managers claimed they didn’t have the time or budget to create backups of anything not on their managed servers. In a classic case of cognitive dissonance, they failed to recognize a strong need in their organization, or see any reasonable solution.

Operating System Domination

Dominating technology markets requires an ever-expanding footprint. No longer limited to having one’s customers use the same brand or operating systems family across one device type, tech market dominance requires customers to adopt ecosystems and offerings spanning devices, software, services, media.

Cloud Storage/Sharing is proving to be one way to build dominance. There is a strong association between the number of devices with a given operating system family and the primary operating system of the device primarily used for Cloud Storage/Sharing activities.

Connected Adults using an Apple OS device (iOS, MacOS) as their primary Cloud Storage/Sharing device use the largest number of Apple devices. With an average (mean) number of 2.9, this is more than three times the number of these user’s number of Windows devices and nearly six times as many Google devices used for any activities.

There’s a similarly positive, although weaker, relationship for Windows and Google devices. Users mostly choosing a Google OS (Android, Chrome) device for Cloud Storage/Sharing activities have a higher average number of Google devices than Windows or Apple devices. Users primarily using Windows OS devices for Cloud Storage/Sharing use more Windows than Google or Apple devices.

Device Types

Across all types of consumers – employed or not – 58% of Connected Adults use any of their devices for Cloud Storage/Sharing services. Home PCs are the most popular device, used for these services by 39% of Connected Adults.

Smartphones and Tablets are the 2nd and 3rd most-used devices. Cloud Storage/Sharing services help users get access to files on devices which don’t have any removable memory, including access to a USB flash drive or hard disk, and an effective substitute for files attached to emails.

The broadest users, those who use the largest number of Cloud Storage/Sharing activities, use the services at nearly the same levels across each of their many devices. Nearly twice as many use their Home PC for 4 or more Cloud Storage/Sharing activities than only use 1-3 activities, 25% to 13%, respectively. Similarly, the broadest users are the majority of users for those using Smartphones, Tablets, or Work PCs.

Key Activities

Of the most common Cloud Storage/Sharing activities, backing up personal files is the most widely used activity. Forty-three percent of Connected Adults regularly do this.

It’s hard to beat the convenience of an Internet-connected backup. Removable hard drives and USB flash drives are also easy to use, yet can be misplaced, fail, or not be at hand when wanted. Each of these offer the benefit of physical security, unlike data which is stored offsite. However, most nontechnical users don’t feel the need for heightened security and rely on the security methods of their cloud storage companies.

Cloud services also offer unlimited size, depending on the service and subscription. This makes it easier for users to enjoy the services as convenient places to access their files from their various devices and locations.

Although many Cloud Storage/Sharing services are consumer-class, and may not be sanctioned by the user’s employer, using them for work files is a widespread activity. Backing up work files/documents online is regularly done by one-third (34%) of Connected Adults, and in turn by 69% of employed or self-employed adults.

Activities by Device

Home PCs have the highest share of users across all types of cloud storage/sharing activities. Smartphones being used for Cloud Storage/Sharing of personal files, at 18% of Connected Adults, is only slightly behind the number who use Home PCs for this. The same activity is the leading one for Tablets. For users of work PCs, the top activities are for work files and documents, and less so for personal ones.

Key Users of Cloud Storage/Sharing Activities

There are 74 million most-active Cloud Storage Sharing users, who regularly do 4 or more activities. They have some unique characteristics.

Employees in several industries stand out with usage rates of double or nearly-double the national usage rate of 34% of Connected Adults. Within the Construction Industry, usage includes 72% of Connected Adults. This makes sense when you consider that each step from design through building can benefit from quick mobile access to plans, images, and materials.

Three key employee roles stand out as being especially strong in their usage levels. IT/IS, Executives, and Specialists all have 60% or more of their numbers actively using a broad set of these activities.

Demographically, younger males (age 25-44) have usage rates of 62% or higher. Older millennials of any gender also have high usage – 59%.

In contrast, there are several segments where there are a small number of hardy users, outnumbered by their contemporaries. For example, among older adults and retirees, while there are very active users, their usage levels range from 4% for the Silent+Greatest Generation (age 71+) to Baby Boomers (age 52-61) at 14%.

Looking ahead

Human needs do not change quickly. Technology offerings change much faster, in efforts to meet those needs. I don’t expect consumers to suddenly tidy up their collections of unwanted files. Similarly, I don’t expect employees to suddenly fall into compliance with their employer’s guidelines and restrictions for Cloud Storage/Sharing services.

Instead, I expect consumers to continue to amass their collections of digital items, chasing ever-larger spaces. This, in turn, will continue to pressure demand for ever-faster transfer speeds and data plans to be able to maintain ready access to their collections.

Despite privacy and employer’s compliance and security concerns, the majority of consumers and employees will continue to expand their usage and reliance on Cloud Storage/Sharing services. Independent pure play services such as Box and Dropbox are likely to feel the squeeze of market concentration that comes as major players broaden their offerings to deepen their customer footprint. The pressure will come from many directions – device manufacturers, software developers, ISPs, Telcos, and media conglomerates. While these variously compete or cooperate to gain control over consumer’s files and data, consumers themselves will continue their amassing and accumulation.

The days of personal data are growing fewer. That which is offline and stored locally is destined for the junk heap, or at least the garage or storage facility.

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). For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.


Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.
This TUPdate was based on results in the TUP Activities Chapter.


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Filed under Cloud Storage, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Operating systems, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

Tablet-First. Is it a thing? (TUPdate)

Tablet-First. Is it a thing? – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, February 17, 2017

Which comes first – Smartphone? Tablet? Notebook? For a small and steadily growing segment, the tablet comes first as the primary connected device.

Over the last three years, the share of connected adults using a tablet as their primary device has expanded. In our 2014 wave of TUP, we found that 6% of adults were using a tablet as their primary device – before a PC, mobile phone, or game console. In TUP 2015, the Tablet-First rate had grown to 7% and by TUP 2016, reached 9%.MetaFacts-td1702-tablet-first-trend-metafacts-tup-2014-2016-2017-02-16_10-02-19

It’s not as if these Tablet-First users are only using a tablet. Among Tablet-First users, half (50%) use a Smartphone as their secondary device, followed distantly by a Tower Desktop (15%), Basic cell phone (10%), and Notebook PC (9%). Continue reading

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Filed under Consumer research, Entertainment, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Shopping, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate

Are most hearables being used by young males? (MetaFAQs)

Wireless headsets have been available for more than a decade, and are strongest among two age and gender groups. These hearables-active groups are also have above-average shares of VR Headset early adopters.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0100-120drxhear-2017-02-13_08-31-37

The strongest segments for active hearables use include younger males – age 18-44 and youngish females – age 25-34. Penetration is above one in four among males 25-34 (27%) and among males age 35-44 (26%). Among females, hearables usage peaks among females age 25-34, at 15%.

Looking ahead, we expect these same age & gender groups to continue as the strongest users of hearables, and don’t expect other segments to be as keen on hearables.

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Filed under Communication, Demographics & Econographics, Entertainment, Forward-Leaning, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Smartphones, TUP 2016, Usage Patterns, Video calling

The Most Creative – PCs or Smartphones? (TUPdate)

The Most Creative – PCs or Smartphones? – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, February 9, 2017

Creativity eludes definition, yet we know and admire it when we see or feel it. Well beyond simple clicks, creative activities greatly add to the collective oeuvre while also giving voice to expression.

It might well be argued that creativity is shown in the clever use of hashtags, emojis, or Snapchat video filters. I’m choosing to identify creativity broadly and practically – how the most-creative, most-involved tech activities get done. Activities such as creating presentations and videos require forethought and a blending of skills. Some activities such as taking photographs are now so widely commonplace that the activity spans the professional photographer to the budding amateur. So, for this analysis, I’m considering this a moderately-creative activity.metafacts-td1702-creatives-diagram-2017-02-09_13-27-42

From our most recent TUP (Technology User Profile) survey, I chose six core activities as being more creative than the many other everyday activities we track by device and user.

I drilled down into the TUP data to see what differences there may be by device type – PCs versus Smartphones. When it comes to creative activities, there are differences.

Which devices have the most users doing creative activities?

Creative activities are strongest where the tools are richest. Ask any oil painter if they benefit by having ready canvases, easels, paints, and lighting.

On first glance, mobility could support creativity, by having one’s tools handy. Creative inspirations can be elusive, so if creativity only takes place when the muse visits, then it could follow that convenient mobility matters most of all. Thinking this through more deeply, however, creativity isn’t defined by a few clicks.metafacts-td1702-creatives-by-smartphone-os-metafacts-tupdate-2017-02-08_11-18-35

When focusing on some of the most-creative activities, our TUP data shows that more people create serious content on PCs than on Smartphones. For example, for creation of personal graphics or presentations, 14% of connected adults use a PC, nearly three times the 5% rate who use their Smartphones. Similarly, 14% of connected adults use a PC for work graphics/presentations, more than triple the 4% who use their Smartphones.

Similarly, creating videos for work purposes is done with PC by twice as many adults as those using Smartphones.
Even a broad and highly personal activity category – hobbies – has a higher rate of use on PCs than on Smartphones.
Given that Smartphones have much smaller screens than most notebook PCs or desktops, it may be surprising to some that these highly-graphical creative activities have anywhere near the acceptance levels that they’re enjoying. Screen size doesn’t seem to be the entire explanation, because these creative activities have lower usage rates on Tablets than on either PCs or Smartphones.

I dove deeper into the TUP data to see if some Smartphones are associated with more creative activities than others. A slightly higher share of Apple iPhones than Android Smartphones are used for creative activities, however the difference is not statistically significant. For the most-creative activities, the difference is 2% or less.

Looking ahead

I expect PCs to continue dominating actively creative activities. Even while Smartphones are increasingly taking user’s primary attention, PCs remain primary among the set of devices being actively used. Users continue to juggle many devices, and most users actively navigate a combination which includes at least two of three devices: PCs (Desktops or Notebooks), Smartphones, or Tablets. Ninety-six percent use two or more of these, and 57% actively use three or more, up from 49% one year previously.metafacts-td1702-creatives-multiple-device-types-2017-02-09_11-18-17

I expect pan-device experience and integration to expand, helping mobile devices expand in use for creative activities. User’s abilities will increase with their growing experience working across multiple devices. A growing number of users are increasingly using the cloud to share their own work across their various devices. Furthermore, I expect creativity apps to continue to expand their ability to be used across multiple device types.
The result will be that more people will be able to create whenever and wherever the muse calls.

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). For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.


Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.

This TUPdate was based on results in the TUP 2016 Chapter – Devices, Section KEY_DEV_OS/Key Devices OS, Section COMBO/Device Combinations from TUP 2014, TUP 2015, and TUP 2016. Also, activity data was selected from data in PC Activities (Rows 630 ACT_PC), Smartphone Activities (Rows 700 ACT_SP), and Tablet Activities (Rows 670 ACT_TAB).

Related MetaFAQs

Also see these related MetaFAQs, the Frequently Asked Questions address by results from MetaFacts TUP:

MetaFAQ Question Cross-Reference
mq0684 How many creative pros are there, actively creating presentations and graphics? Chapter: L Activities  Section: L5-ACTIMAGE/Graphics/Imaging  Tables: [625 ACT_DEVxACTIMAGE] Device Activities
mq0165 Who are the most-graphical? Chapter: L Activities  Section: L5-ACTIMAGE/Graphics/Imaging  Tables: [120 DRxACTIMAGE] Respondent Demographics
mq0055 How are Tablets used differently than Notebook PCs? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A1-OV/Overview  Tables: [670 ACT_TABxOV] Tablet PC Activities
mq0056 How are Notebook PCs used differently than Tablets? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A1-OV/Overview  Tables: [650 ACT_NOTExOV] Notebook PC Activities
mq0536 What is the primary device for personal/productivity activities? Chapter: L Activities  Section: L8-ACTPROD/Personal/Productivity  Tables: [620 ACT_PRODxACTPROD] Personal/Productivity Activities
mq0138 How are Smartphones used differently than Tablet PCs? Chapter: G Tablets  Section: G1-TAB/Tablets  Tables: [700 ACT_SPxTAB] Smartphone Activities
mq0012 What is the profile of the most active in graphics & imaging activities? Chapter: L Activities  Section: L5-ACTIMAGE/Graphics/Imaging  Tables: [120 DRxACTIMAGE] Respondent Demographics
mq0181 How are Smartphones used differently than Tablet PCs? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A1-OV/Overview  Tables: [670 ACT_TABxOV] Tablet PC Activities
mq0551 How are Notebooks used differently than Desktop PCs? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A1-OV/Overview  Tables: [650 ACT_NOTExOV] Notebook PC Activities
mq0377 What is the most popular combination of connected devices? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D1-COMBO/Device Combinations  Tables: [250 DEV_KEYxCOMBO] Key Device Metrics
mq0574 Which device is used for the most productivity & personal activities? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D1-COMBO/Device Combinations  Tables: [620 ACT_PRODxCOMBO] Personal/Productivity Activities
mq0655 What is the next device planned among those who own certain combinations of devices? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D1-COMBO/Device Combinations  Tables: [810 PLANSxCOMBO] Purchase Plans
mq0656 Which device is used for the most cloud storage and sharing activities? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D1-COMBO/Device Combinations  Tables: [610 ACT_CLOUDxCOMBO] Cloud Storage/Sharing Activities

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Filed under Desktops, Graphics and Image, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate

Device Primacy and OS – What we Hold Near (TUPdate)

Device Primacy and OS – What we Hold Near – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, January 18, 2017

Primacy. The first device you reach for, the one you stay near, the one you rely on. You might think that it’s the Smartphone, and that’s correct for many, but not all. For many activities and market segments, PCs and tablets dominate. A user’s activity focus affects which devices they choose most often, as does their operating system collection, among other factors.

Primacy by OS Family

All-Apple and all-Windows users are living in different worlds – as they have strikingly different preferences for their primary devices.
Among Apple-only users, Smartphones are the primary device for most types of activities. The PC (Mac or MacBook in this case) is their primary device for cloud storage/sharing and for search and information-related activities. Half (50%) of these adults using only Apple iOS or MacOS devices (no Microsoft Windows or Google Android or ChromeOS) do most of their cloud storage/sharing activities on a PC, and just under one-third (32%) primarily use a Smartphone.

In contrast, among Windows-only users, the PC is strongly the primary device for every major type of activity. Smartphones are only ranked second for productivity/personal and graphics/images activities. A tablet is the second choice for the greatest number of activity types – cloud storage/sharing, search/information, shopping, and social networking.metafacts-device-primacy-primary-secondary-device-2017-01-18_17-08-39

Apple’s iPad doesn’t rank as a second device for any type of activity among Apple-only users. This low level of primacy may seem surprising given that penetration of iPads is higher than average among this Apple-loyal segment. Sixty-one percent of Apple-only users regularly use an Apple iPad, more than double the national rate of 29%. This primacy analysis doesn’t mean Apple-only users aren’t enjoying their iPads – simply that they’re lower on the list of devices they choose for a wide range of activities.

Devices and Primacy
Across the entire base of connected adults, the PC is the leader for nearly every type of activity. The Swiss Army Knife broad nature of PCs continues its appeal. Smartphones only lead PCs for communications and graphics/imaging activities. Many of the specific activities in these two categories are strongly mobile – making phone calls, staying in touch, and taking and sharing photos.

OS Family

Connected Devices are dominated by three operating systems families – Microsoft Windows, Apple’s MacOS and iOS, and Google’s Android and Chrome OS. The base of Windows, once exclusively dominant, is well-overlapped by Apple and Google. The majority of users are living a multi-OS lifestyle, juggling more than OS family. The two largest OS combinations are nearly equal in market size. Just over one-fourth (26%) of users use connected devices running Windows and Google, and none with an Apple OS. Another fourth (25%) have Windows and Apple devices, with none as Google.metafacts-device-primacy-2017-01-12_16-25-15

Profile highlights of OS Family groups

It might be assumed that Apple-only users are early adopters while Windows-only users are laggards, partly explaining why they might choose different devices as primary or secondary. This is only partly true. The Windows-only users do include many tech laggards and the late majority, with 38% being the last of their age group to have first used a PC, mobile phone, or tablet. However, the Apple-only users aren’t especially early adopters, as 32% meet that definition, which is slightly less than the 33% nationwide who also do. There are other characteristics that set them apart.
Windows-only users are the oldest of the major OS family groups, on average 10 years older than every other group. They also include the smallest share of full-time employees, highest share of low-income households, and lowest average number of devices.metafacts-device-primacy-user-profile-highlights-by-os
Apple-only users have the highest share of younger millennials, have relatively high incomes, although are middling with respect to tech early adopters and laggards.
The jugglers of all three OS are the youngest, high incomes, more devices in use, and have the highest share of tech early adopters.

Activity types, primacy, ages and tech spending

Primacy of device by activity also varies with respect to the user’s age and consumer tech spending on devices and services. Younger adults aren’t necessarily the biggest tech spenders, nor are Smartphone users. In fact, those who primarily use their PCs for social networking or image/graphics activities are the biggest tech spenders and older than those who mostly use Smartphones for those activities.metafacts-device-primacy-age-device-spend-2017-01-18_12-36-08

The average age of adults who use a PC for the majority of their image/graphics activities – from managing photos to creating presentations – is 44, nearly five years older than those whose primary image/graphics device is a Smartphone. The graphics PC group also spends more than $1,450 per year more than Smartphone-focused users. Similarly, PC-focused Social Networkers are more than 8 years older and spend $730 more per year on consumer tech devices and services than their Smartphone counterparts.

Looking ahead

We expect tablets to continue to languish as a minor device for most users and most activity categories. As more 2-in-1 and convertible notebooks emerge and grow in acceptance, they will continue to relegate tablets to secondary or tertiary use.
Smartphones will continue their market penetration, replacing the basic cell phone among the last stalwart holdouts. Whether the last new Smartphone adopters will choose to go with Android or Apple Smartphones will set them on a course strongly affecting their next PC and tablet purchase. It’s most likely they will choose Google Android since this segment is more price-sensitive and less tech-savvy than average.
PCs will continue their gradual decline from primacy, to be replaced by Smartphones. Within PCs, there will be a broader division between the activity profiles for desktop and mobile PCs. We expect desktop PCs to continue their broad primary and secondary use, due to inertia and the as yet unmatched broad capabilities of PCs. Mobile PCs, however, while pressuring tablets, will themselves feel the strongest pressure from Smartphones as their broad usefulness continues to expand.

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). For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.


Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis. This TUPdate is based on the TUP Life Stage section, which is within the TUP 2016 User Profile Chapter.

Comments Off on Device Primacy and OS – What we Hold Near (TUPdate)

Filed under Basic cell phones, Behaviors and Activities, Cloud Storage, Communication, Desktops, Devices, Entertainment, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Shopping, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Video calling