There are multiple ways consumers are expressing this, from actively using ad blockers, to moving beyond “freemium” sites and content to those offering an ad-free experience with a paid subscription, or simply reducing their media consumption.
Ad blockers are being used by a substantial share of online adults in the US. Based on our 2017 wave of Technology User Profile throughout the US, 40% of Connected Adults are actively using an Ad Blocking app on at least one of their connected devices.
Ad blockers are being used across a range of user’s connected devices. The highest rate of ad blocking is on PCs, followed by Smartphones, and then Tablets.
The Ad Blocking rate is even higher among the most-active news readers. This rejection doesn’t bode well for ad-supported business models, such as that of many media outlets.
Digital consumers continue to value an ad-free experience, whether for news, music, or video content. Consumers enjoy convenience and continue to respond to offers marketed as free. Although these hopes and preferences may persist, what matters more than wishes are what consumers do. Action matters more than opinion, just as behavior carries more weight than intention or preference. Seeing that so many consumers, especially such highly-engaged ones, continue to take the extra step to actively block ads continues to send the messages to advertisers as well as news outlets.
Meanwhile, many media outlets have gotten the message and moved their ad-free experiences behind paywalls. Others encourage freemium customers to at least whitelist their publications. To the extent consumers lower their defenses, this may reduce the value consumers place on being ad-free. In turn, this may encourage more consumers to return to being active readers.
This post 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 TUP 2017, its 35th consecutive wave, as well as previous waves. Comparable results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.
As the saying goes, many talk about the weather, yet few do anything about it. Our research doesn’t show if people expect Alexa to have any skills to do anything about the weather. However, it is the main subject users speak with Alexa about. That’s followed by requests about music.
Meanwhile, web searches are the major subject users speak with their Voice Assistants about. This subject is dominated by Google Assistant, and closely seconded by Microsoft Cortana.
Alexa is ranked #1 in the breadth of subjects actively used, and is primarily used for weather, music, and entertainment. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Alexa is more-favored for shopping than other systems. What may be surprising is that shopping isn’t Alexa’s top helpful task. Since most connected shopping today is visual, most involves the use of a larger screen device such as a PC or Tablet.
Google Assistant is ranked 2nd for breadth of subjects, mostly utilized for web searches, navigation, and music.
3rd-ranked Apple Siri is used primarily for web searches, weather, and navigation, and is uniquely strong in messaging.
4th-ranked Microsoft Cortana is similarly used for web searches, weather, and music. Like Alexa, it’s slightly stronger than average for scheduling.
This is based on the MetaFacts Voice User Profile survey conducted in February 2018. This subset of the results report on active usage, which is a practical measure to contrast with the potential of what Voice Assistants may or may be able to do.
The market for Voice Assistants is in a time of flux and rapid development, as each Voice Assistant system touts the breadth of its skills, richness of their vocabulary, accuracy, humor, or other capabilities. Meanwhile, users are experimenting, with some former users having been discouraged by unmet expectations and others only at the start of their adoption.
Related research results
The MetaFacts Voice User Profile includes other related analysis, including:
The subjects Voice Assistant users ask about: weather, scheduling, music, entertainment, home automation, and more
Which Voice Assistant systems are being actively used, on which platforms, and which segments they are attracting
Which listening devices are being actively used – from Smart Speakers to Smartphones and Headsets
Where Voice Assistant users will – and won’t – do their talking: in restaurants, driving, while walking, and many other locations and settings
How well – or poorly – users experience their Voice Assistants, and how performance metrics vary by system and listening device
How many adults are active Voice Assistant users, how many are former users, and how many have never tried one
Reasons given why consumers have never used a Voice Assistant, as well as why former users aren’t currently active users
The information in this MetaFAQ is based on a survey of 525 online adults during February 2018 as part of the MetaFacts Voice User Profile (VUP). The study universe includes active Voice Assistant users, former Voice Assistant users, as well as consumers who have never used a Voice Assistant. Current TUP (Technology User Profile) subscribers can obtain the results of this newest research at a discount. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.
Which is more fun – the one-trick-pony device that does one fun thing well, or the device you can use for many types of entertainment?
In India, the most-preferred connected device for fun is a Smartphone or Basic feature phone. Connected adults in India find more ways than those in other countries to entertain themselves with their Mobile Phones. Their breadth of entertainment activities is greater than with their PCs or Tablets.
This is based on our most recent wave of research – the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2017 edition.
Unlike Connected Adults around the world in other countries, in India, Smartphones are used for a unique set of Entertainment Activities.
Well more than half of India’s Connected Adults use their Smartphones for music and movies. Watching videos/movies and listening to music on one’s Smartphone are regular activities at more than a third higher share of Connected Adults.
In contrast, when Germans use their connected devices for Entertainment Activities, they prefer their PCs. And when they use their PCs for Entertainment, most Germans use a PC to play a game (39% of Connected Adults), Hobbies (38%), and to watch videos/movies (37%). Very practical, those Germans, to use the larger screens of PCs.
Tablets have yet to make their way as being the most-entertaining connected device. Although Tablets are growing in regular use throughout the world, only in the U.S. and U.K. do they account for more than one-tenth of the preferred entertainment device.
Entertainment continues to remain one of the reasons why people use connected devices. As both wired and wireless networks continue to expand their speed, this has made for more enjoyable experiences, especially for bandwidth-hogging activities such as watching movies or television. Similarly, as wireless carriers such as T-Mobile in the U.S. have removed or reduced data caps, this has reduced barriers for many customers. Consequently, these types of entertainment activities have reached a broader swath of consumers. Consumers continue to be the leading innovators in finding ways to get to the content they want, meaning they’ll consider moving beyond the devices they’re using today.
This MetaFAQ is based on TUP 2017 WW table 580 ACT_ENTxCOUNTRY – Entertainment Activities by Country. This is based on our most recent research among 13,572 US adults as part of the TUP/Technology User Profile (TUP) 2017 survey.
This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active technology users.
Many other related research answers are part of the TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP Lenses with the most information about Notebook/Laptop PC use by country are the TUP PC Lens, TUP Devices Lens, and TUP User Profile Lens.
These MetaFAQs are brought to you by MetaFacts, based on research results from their most-recent wave of TUP/Technology User Profile. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.
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.
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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