By Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, April 24, 2020
Busy parents are busier than ever
Parents are busier than ever with the many stay at home conditions and school closures across the US now.
Two days ago (April 22, 2020), we surveyed 322 online adults with children 18 or younger. We asked them about the computing devices in their homes, how they share them, what they plan to buy in the next few months, and how an additional home PC might affect their home.
Most parents say they have enough computing devices at home. Nearly two-thirds (61%) have as many or more PCs or tablets than people. Many parents said an additional personal PC is not really wanted, as most (35%) say it would make no difference and feel they have enough (12%).
Those few who would welcome a new home computer value several benefits. One-sixth (16%) expect more efficiency – getting more done with less effort, whether it is more schoolwork or for work from home. Almost as many (14%) expect they would have to share the PCs they have less often. They predict there would be fewer fights between their children. (and who wouldn’t appreciate that!).
Yours, mine, and mine
With the many PCs they have in their home, we asked how and if they share them amongst themselves.
More than half (55%) share PCs, with higher priority given to schoolwork (34%) and working from home (25%). Another half (48%) do not regularly share PCs.
Who can quantify the pride or commitment of a parent? On social networks, I often see a parent sharing their happiness about their child reaching an educational milestone.
One measure of parental pride, dedication, or support could include the investment they make in tools to help their children grow and learn. Technology spending among adults with children continues to increase, and especially so among those with younger school-age children.
As released in our most recent wave of Technology User Profile – TUP 2017 US – our research shows that spending on home technology devices and services has increased both in volume and breadth. The number of Connected Adults with school-age children has grown, and so has their average tech spending. In TUP 2015, we found that 72.5 million Connected Adults were in households with Children. That grew to 81.2 million, as ascertained in our TUP 2017 wave.
The average (mean) annual amount spent on technology devices and services is strikingly stronger for households with children than for those without children. The average annual tech spend increased from $7.4k to nearly $11k within only the last two years – from the TUP 2015 to TUP 2017 survey. During this same time, homes without children increased their tech spending, although the growth has not been as substantial. Among adults with no children, average spending rose from $5.9k to $6.7k over those three study years.
Drilling down into the TUP data just a little deeper, I noticed a more interesting difference among households with children in their tech spending. Homes with younger school-age children (age 6-11) are spending the most on home technology devices and services. Meanwhile, households with either the oldest or the youngest children have increased spending, although not by as many dollars.
While not all home technology is being bought solely for the use of kids, there’s a strong association. For example, more than one-in five (22%) adults with children in their household specifically print items for children/teen education.
Also, Connected Adults with school-age children (6-17) are 20% or more likely than the average to be using a Home All-in-One PC, Apple Home Mac, or Home Tablet.
Parents have been some of the biggest tech spenders for decades, and this recent increase in investment bodes well for the tech market as well as for the next wave of children. Each successive generation has become more comfortable with and reliant on technology devices and services. I expect this momentum to continue as each new generation of new parents uses what they know to support their children’s education and future.
The information in this TUPdate is based on the three most recent waves of Technology User Profile (TUP) – the TUP 2015, 2016, and 2017 waves into the US. Current TUP subscribers can tap into these and additional similar results about adults with children in the UK, Germany, China, and India. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.
There’s a cartoon making the rounds online about a FaceTiming family. While Mom and the teens can clearly see each other’s faces, Dad doesn’t seem to get it that holding the phone to his ear isn’t the best way to communicate using FaceTime or video calling.
Those of us who are facile with technology products – let’s not be hard on any new users. After all, activities like communication work best when everyone is involved.
Newer technology can be daunting, even those who are well-experienced with one type of technology may be new to another. Age alone does not define who is the most experienced or tech-savvy.
Presence of children is a contributing factor with technology adoption. Based on results from the most-recent wave of Technology User Profile, adults in households with children are more interested in wearable technology. Over half (52%) of adults in households with children agree or strongly agree with the statement “I would love to be the first to use wearable technology.” Adults in households without children aren’t as enthusiastic, with only one-third (33%) similarly agreeing.
Making video calls with services as Microsoft Skype, Apple FaceTime, ooVoo, Tango, Google Hangouts, or the like is done more often among households with kids present. Just over one third (34%) of all Connected Adults who use their devices to communicate make video calls. Among younger (18-39) employed adults with children in their household, well over half (57%) make video calls. Among older (40+) adults who aren’t employed without children present, the number is one-sixth (16%).
Even in one narrow type of activity – communications – there are a wealth of options. From social networking to email and voice or video calls, technology users have choices.
The top-third of the most broadly communicative among us use their Connected Devices for 7 or more types of communication activities – from email to voice calls, text messaging to video calls.
One of the biggest factors separating the most-active communicators from others is the presence of children, along with age and employment status.
Among adults age 40 and up, employed and with children in the household, 39% are in this most-active communicator group. By comparison, only one-fourth (25%) of those without children in the household are as active. The difference is even more striking among the 40+ who are not employed outside the home: One-third (33%) of those with children in the household are the most-active, versus only 13% of those without children.
Video calls and apps like FaceTime are just one mode of communications in active use. Not everyone uses the same mode of communication. While some of us favor email, others prefer text messaging.
For adults with children in the household, several communication activities are used more often than for similar adults without children.
Writing a blog or online journal is an activity for many more adults in households with children than among those without, at 24% and 14% of Connected Adults, respectively. For making video calls, the gap is slightly narrower at 9% – the difference between 47% of adults with kids and 28% of those without.
In households with any children age 5 and younger, adults use the broadest range of communication activities across their Connected Devices. Just over half (51%) use 7 or more types of communication activities, well above the one-third of Connected Adults this usage level represents.
It was a prescient Groucho Marx who once quipped: “A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”
Fortunately, over 63 million adults have children in their households. Whether or not those younger pioneers will be kind and show their elders how to use their devices to communicate remains to be seen. Whether anyone will ever develop an inter-generational translator, so that parents and teens can finally understand each other, is something perhaps too daunting for even the technology industry.
These results are based on the most recent wave of Technology User Profile, the TUP 2014 edition. The large-scale survey is in its 32nd continuous year, documenting and detailing the full scope of technology adoption and use. In addition to detailing the many devices adults use to connect and sizing targeted market segments, the survey-based research details what people do with their devices. It reports which activities adults primarily use with which device. For example, TUP reports which market segments use their Smartphones or Desktops as their primary communication device, as well as which devices are primarily for entertainment, shopping, social networking, and other types of activities.
Further results and datasets are available to TUP subscribers, including the full details on these technology users: which devices they intend to buy, which other devices they already actively use, the activities they’re doing and which device they do them with, their complete demographic profile, tech spending, wearable technology, and more.
Technology companies who want to know more about adults with or without children, video callers users, or about their current or future customers can contact MetaFacts to learn how to subscribe to the rich resources of Technology User Profile.
There may be some truth that parents of toddlers need to get out of the house more. The age of children in the mobile PC user’s household has a high correlation with the number of locations where they regularly use their mobile PC. Households with the youngest children – those age 6 and under – have the highest relative percentage that use their mobile PCs in four or more locations. Twenty percent of all mobile PC households have children age 6 or under, and 33% of households who regularly use their mobile PC in four or more locations have children age 6 or younger.
Similarly, although not quite as dramatically, nearly one-third (31%) of mobile PC households have children age 12 and under, and of mobile PC households regularly using their mobile PC in four or more locations, 43% have children age 12 and under.
# of Locations Mobile PCs are used by Age of Children
Other findings in the Mobile PC Profile Report include:Brand Shares of Mobile & Desktop PCs
Mobile PC Brands by Year Acquired
Market Segments and Mobile PC Brands
Operating Systems & Mobility
Operating Systems on Mobile PCs – Pre-installed or Aftermarket?
Operating Systems by Mobile PC Brand
User Age and Mobile Computing
User Age and Mobile PC Brand
User Gender and Mobile PC Brand
Age within Gender of Primary Computer User and Mobile PC Brand
Number of Locations by Gender and Age
Employment Status and Mobile Computing
Employment Status and Mobile PC Brands
Market Segment by Mobile PC Brand
Big & Small Companies and PC Mobility
Educational Level and Mobile PC Brand
Household Income by Mobile PC Brand
Age of Kids and Mobility of PC
Mobility Doesn’t Always Mean Mobile Use
Locations for Mobile PCs
Public PC Locations by Mobile PC Brand
Mobile PC Brand by Number of Locations Used
Mobile PC Users and the Total Number of PCs Used
Mobile PC Brand by Number of PCs Regularly Used
PC Purchase Year by Mobility
New versus Used/Refurbished by Mobile PC Brand
Hours of Use by Mobile PC Brand
Busy Mobile PCs and Mobile PC Brands
Activities and Mobility
Major Activities Point Out that Mobile PC Brands Vary
Tech Attitude Gap between Mobile PC and Desktop Users
Tech Attitudes by Mobile PC Brand
Brand Loyalty by Mobile PC Brand
Scanners by Mobile PC Brand
Docking Solutions by Mobile PC Brand
Firewire Usage by Mobile PC Brand
Sony Mobile PC Users Shop at a Broader Selection of Outlets
Which Mobile PC Users Frequent which Online and Retail Outlets
Retail Purchase Channels & Outlets by Mobile PC Brand
Online Purchase Channels & Outlets by Mobile PC Brand
MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Moms and Dads, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry topics. These Profile Reports are in a series on specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption and use in American households and businesses. Interested technology professionals can sign up for complimentary TUPdates, periodic snapshots of technology markets.
MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are widely recognized as a primary marketing resource for Fortune 1000 companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, peripherals, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.
Apple is drawing a potentially profitable audience: non-Apple households shopping at Apple’s retail stores have a larger than average household, with two-thirds (67%) having 3 or more household members. Certainly, those other members might benefit from an additional PC. While five-ninths (56%) have more than one Home PC, that’s smaller than the over two-thirds (68%) of Apple households with two or more Home PCs.
Attracting and serving future generations has been a persistent part of Apple’s strategy, and that might be needed in the present, although towards an even-younger audience. The almost-there untapped-market of households without Apples that are already frequenting Apple retail stores includes a disproportionately-high concentration of kids. In non-Apple households shopping at Apple retail stores, over one-fourth (28%) have kids age 7 to 12, and 29% have kids 6 and under. That’s nearly double the rate among Apple households, at 16% and 15%, respectively.
One other mildly positive sign for Apple’s future: A fair number of non-Apple households shop at the Apple website. 7% of non-Apple households have recently shopped online with Apple, compared with 24% of Apple households. Although this non-Apple number is not huge, it’s noticeable. Apple is making many efforts beyond personal computing to drive traffic to its sites, stores, and brand. Beyond personal computers, this ranges from iPhones to iPods.
This information is released from the Apple Profile Report, a Technology User Profile solution from MetaFacts. It is based on recent surve-based research, reporting directly from a representative sample of actual users. The Apple Profile Report is available for immediate purchase through the online store at the MetaFacts website – MetaFacts.com
Other findings in the Apple Profile Report include:
The life of the Apple computer, longer or shorter?
How Apple computers are used distinctly from Windows PCs
Apple’s retail footprint – success and failure
Apple users concentrated in few occupations
Apple as the second or third computer; this camel’s nose is sniffing around the tent’s edge
Why a cybercafé survey might fool you
Just how “different” and elite are Apple customers – socioeconomically, behaviorally, and attitudinally?
Apple loyalty – still faithful?
The halo effect – has the iPod changed Apple’s PC business?
Just how more creative are Apple’s users than the Windows crowd?
Apple’s most-connected – broadband households
Apple & the future digital home?
Apple’s future – who is Apple attracting?
MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Broadband, Digital Imaging, and many other technology industry topics. These Profile Reports are in a series on specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption and use in American households and businesses. Interested technology professionals can sign up for complimentary TUPdates, periodic snapshots of technology markets.
MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are widely recognized as a primary marketing resource for Fortune 1000 companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, peripherals, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300 or www.metafacts.com
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