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Are we exclusive? An update on ecosystem exclusivity, dominance, and non-exclusivity [TUPdate]

Do customers act on ecosystems, choosing to focus within a brand’s family for their products and services? How many technology users are exclusive, or at least favor one over another?

Only one in eight (12%) of online adults around the world are truly exclusive, using products and services from only one of either Apple, Google, or Microsoft. This is based on the most recent wave of the MetaFacts TUP survey (Technology User Profile 2018), conducted among 14,273 online adults.

Nearly twice as many actively use a balanced mixture of ecosystems. True non-exclusivity is being actively practiced by one-fourth (25%) of online adults. (see the Methodology below for details on the segmentation approach used in this analysis.)

The largest group of users is between exclusivity and non-exclusivity, slightly favoring one ecosystem while still actively using at least one other. Over six in ten (62%) of online adults are in these segments. The Google-Dominant segment is on par with the Apple-Dominant segment, each representing one in five online adults.

Apple’s most-focused are more broadly invested in Apple’s ecosystem than are Google’s or Microsoft’s best. Most of Apple’s strength is supported by their connected devices – iPhones, iPads, and Macs to a lesser extent. The Apple-Exclusive (3% of online adults) use an average of 2.3 connected devices, and among the Apple-Dominant, this average is 2.1 devices. Use of voice assistant Apple Siri is the second-most component among the Apple-Exclusive, and also tied for second place among the Apple-Dominant. The Apple-Dominant are equally active with Microsoft devices, primarily Windows PCs.

The Google-Exclusive (3% of online adults) only use 1.4 Google devices on average, primarily an Android smartphone. Android tablets and Chromebooks aren’t as widely used among the Google-Exclusive as are Apple’s devices among the Apple-Exclusive.

The Microsoft-Exclusive (6% of online adults) show a pattern of entrenchment. Only Microsoft devices are in use besides some nominal use of Microsoft Cortana or Xbox consoles. The Microsoft-Dominant are a bit more exploratory, including a small number of Google devices and some use of Microsoft Cortana.

Profile of the Ecosystem Exclusivity Segments

Each ecosystem has appealed to very different groups of people, especially with respect to life stage. While Apple’s most-exclusive users have a higher share (44%) of younger adults with children, nearly half (48%) of Google’s most-exclusive users are not employed outside the home and don’t have children. This bodes well for Apple’s services and devices that bring extra value to families, such as Apple’s Family Sharing feature, which enables a way to share music, books, cloud storage and other Apple services between multiple users.

The Microsoft-Exclusive segment is singular, with nearly a third (32%) of its members being in a one-person household. The Apple and Google segments are relatively similar to each other, although Google’s have slightly more household members.

Looking ahead

It’s increasingly a multi-device, multi-person world. Sharing between one’s devices and platforms will continue to grow as a user need, as will sharing with others between disparate ecosystems. Although companies may aim for exclusivity, interoperability is more important. It involves the largest part of the market. Exclusive users will remain a small group of loyal fans willing and able to narrow their choices. Although the non-exclusive make up a sizable segment, the future will be with the ecosystem-dominant.

Methodology

For this analysis, we defined ecosystem exclusivity, dominance, and non-exclusivity as follows:

  • Exclusivity – all of the user’s connected devices, items, services, and voice assistants are in the same operating system family
  • Dominant – more of the user’s devices, items, services, and voice assistants use one ecosystem more than others
  • Non-Exclusive – none of the ecosystems is used more than any others

We drew on the TUP data to identify a broad range of offerings within Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon ecosystems.

  • Connected devices – smartphones, tablets, PCs, or game consoles, using Apple iOS, MacOS, Google ChromeOS, Google Android, Google-branded, or Microsoft Windows
  • Services – Music/Video (Apple Music, Prime Video (in Amazon Prime), Prime Music (in Amazon Prime), Amazon Music Unlimited, Google Play Music)
  • Items – TV set-top boxes (Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google TV/Android TV, Google Nexus Player, Google ChromeCast), speakers (Amazon Echo, Amazon Spot or Dot, Amazon Show, Google Home, Google Max or Mini, Apple HomePod), Game Consoles (Microsoft Xbox One X, Microsoft Xbox One, Microsoft Xbox 360, Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Other), smartwatches (Apple Watch, Android Watch)
  • Voice assistants – active use of a voice assistant (Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana) through a connected device

The segmentation approach was a simple categorization based on the accumulation of the above attributes. Each device, service, item or voice assistant was given an equal weight.

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. In the TUP survey, we identified the connected devices being actively used, from those acquired with home/personal funds to those that are owned by employers, schools, or others. From these, we selected adults who are using at least one home 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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Filed under Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Game Consoles, Households, Market Research, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Smart speakers, Smartphones, Smartwatches, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate

Streaming Subscriptions – the Age Cliff for Music (TUPdate)

Streaming subscriptions are popular, with 69% of online adults actively using at least one type of free or paid digital media subscription. Penetration is highest among younger than older American adults. Nearly nine in ten online adults in the US aged 18-34 use a digital media subscription. This is based on results from the 2018 wave of MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile, based on 7,886 respondents in the US, and 12,680 respondents across the US, UK, Germany, and India.

The majority of subscribers have a paid subscription – 85% of all online adults. Only a small percentage of users limit themselves to only free subscriptions, and that’s true across all age groups.

Paid streaming music has a lower overall penetration at 28% of online adults. There is a usage cliff after age 44, with penetration being much stronger among younger than older adults. Less than one in five adults age 45 to 54 use a paid media music subscription, and that rate is even lower among the age 55-64 (12%), and 65 or older (8% of online males and 6% of online females).

For streaming video, NetFlix is the long-established leader with the highest penetration. While adoption of the 1-screen plan is stronger than the 2-screen or 4-screen plan in the US and India, in the UK and Germany each plan has comparable use. Amazon’s Prime Video offering, although relatively more recent, has reached half the share of NetFlix in the US and UK, two-thirds in India, and near-parity in Germany.

Family plans have gained widespread use. Nearly half of US online household with 4 or more persons are actively using a paid family streaming plan from one of the major services: NetFlix, Apple, Spotify, or Deezer.

Comparing over-the-top (OTT) digital media subscriptions to traditional TV subscriptions, in the US, UK, and India, active OTT use surpasses the use of cable, satellite, or phone cable TV subscriptions. DVD rental, while diminished, is still a regular practice among nearly a fifth of online Americans, and 10% of online adults in India.

Looking ahead

When it comes to fun, art, and entertainment, there’s room for many outlets. Although many creators work hard to exclusively own, control and entice viewers and listeners, consumers are free to change their minds and they often do.

Consequently, I expect the majority of consumers to continue expanding their subscriptions, both in the number they use and the range of type of media they subscribe to. However, as content providers continue to jockey for position, joining and then leaving various services, consumers will continue to churn between services. Similarly, as existing providers continue to experiment with varied packages – from family and student to single and multi-screen – consumers will join in the experiments, with many switching and swapping between services. In other words, for years to come I expect two opposing forces. Consumers will pay for more than they use, primarily for the convenience of enjoyment when they want it. Also, consumers will continue with their subscriptions through inertia and confusion, without remembering which content is enabled through which subscription.

Although subscription fatigue may be growing in awareness, habit consumption will prevail over a reasoned review of subscriptions.

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.

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 Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Entertainment, TUP 2018, TUPdate

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. Continue reading

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

Voice Assistants – now we’re talking! (TUPdate)

Voice Assistants, now we’re talking! – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, January 27, 2017

In the early 1980’s, one of my Apple Macs overheard me on a phone call and startled me by speaking “Wouldn’t you like to know?”. The Mac’s dialog box suggested I had asked “Macintosh, do you have an Easter Egg?” Evidently, I had triggered one of those hidden messages some programmers like to include for fun. That was quite a bit earlier than today’s quirky responses after asking Apple Siri certain questions such as “What does the fox say?” or asking Amazon Alexa “how much is that doggie in the window?”

Beyond answering quirky questions, voice assistants are expected to grow in capabilities and more importantly, to grow in broader market acceptance.

Voice interaction with tech devices is back in vogue again, and technology users are different than they were 20 years ago. At CES 2017, voice assistants got a lot of attention, especially with the many IoT devices announced that used Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa.

How many voice assistant early adopters are there?metafacts-voice-assistant-usage-rates-2017-01-27_15-28-45
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Filed under Consumer research, Forward-Leaning, Operating systems, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate

Footloose and ad-free – a new classic melody?

Digital Music Listening – by Dan Ness
Pleasure or pain? Attraction or avoidance? These are some tradeoffs consumers make as they choose how to use their tech devices and services, and music is a major part.

Consumers love music and have more listening options and platforms than ever. The evolution of digital music listening continues to transform the recording, advertising, and tech industries, and the changes aren’t over. At this point, the net effect is a larger than ever base of active music fans and listeners, and one that is engaged in discovering both the new and old. Many consumers are also being trained that advertising is something they can pay to avoid – whether for their music, TV, or news.

Music streaming services such as Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify have disrupted influence, control, and the flow of royalties and fees between listeners and artists. At the same time, the total audience had broadened beyond few passionate fans, and younger generations are discovering both classic and new artists. There’s new life in the long tail of older and obscure recorded music.tdmusic-stream-local-by-device-2016-12-01_13-08-02

Accessibility and ease of use has substantially increased the base of music listeners. This has beneficial long-term effects for both the music and tech industries, and perhaps less so for advertising.

Digital music listening is widespread – being a regular activity of three quarters (76%) of connected adults, whether through portable MP3 players, music services, players on Smartphones, PCs, or Tablets, or often across more than one of these.

Half of connected adults listen to music locally downloaded to their PC, Tablet, or Smartphone. A larger number – 57% – listen to music through a free or paid streaming service. Free service users outnumber those paying by 66%. More consumers are signing up for paid services as these services experiment with additional features and family plans. Avoiding advertisements is one reason listeners choose the paid plans. Use of Ad-Blocking software by listeners to streaming music services is 20% to 40% higher than average, with Smartphone ad blocking rates relatively stronger among listeners.tdmusic-adblocking-rates-2016-12-01_16-38-10

Listening levels varies by device type. Smartphones outnumber PCs and Tablets in the number of active listeners, and has also surpassed portable MP3 players, which are being actively used by 27% of Connected Adults. Al though music-listening apps are simple enough to add to Smartphones, many listeners still prefer a separate device that is tuned to one task – mobile music listening.

Digital music listening is skewed towards younger adults, while a few older adults cling to their turntables to play vinyl albums. Although Millennials (age 18-35) make up 39% of Connected Adults, they are nearly half (49%) of those listening to music on their connected devices, through streaming services, or using digital music players.tdmusic-music-listeners-by-age-group-2016-12-01_14-43-12

Apple’s iTunes and iPod market entry fifteen years ago is still paying dividends for Apple, with Apple notebook users being 22% more likely than average to be listening through a connected device or standalone player, and 30% more likely than average to be using a music service.

Otherwise, music listeners don’t favor one type of connected device over any other for their other non-musical entertainment activities. Fun is big across their collection of Smartphones, Tablets, and PCs. Instead, entertainment is important in all that they use. Music listeners are 32% more likely than average to be using the broadest number of entertainment activities.

Household technology spending is somewhat higher among music listeners. Annual spending for digital music listeners is 11% higher than among average connected adults. However, spending on digital content is much higher than average. Those who use music services spend 40% more than average consumers on digital content such as music and eBooks.tdmusic-tech-spending-2016-12-02_09-04-39

Looking ahead, we expect continued widespread music listening. Consumer habits change slower than their dances between services and platforms. Most future growth will come from within the current base as they spread their usage across their devices and move to paid plans. Less growth will come from first-time listeners. Also, we expect further market disruption for pure music services and advertisers. Social networks will likely seek ways to further leverage their many interconnected users and more deeply integrate music sharing into their services. The growing anti-advertisement sentiment may continue as consumers continue to see value in spending a few nickels to avoid what they see as disturbances to their musical reveries.

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.

The TUP 2016 Wearables, Hearables, Listening, and Speaking Chapter details music listening devices, services, and activities, wearables and other key analysis points. The TUP 2016 Consumer Electronics Chapter drills down into a comprehensive collection of devices and services in active use.

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Filed under Cloud Storage, Desktops, Entertainment, Market Research, Notebooks, Smartphones, TUP 2016, TUPdate