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Tech Purchase Plans – Some Wins and Some Fails (TUPdate)

Tech Purchase Plans – some wins and some fails – a TUPdate by Dan Ness

Some tech products seem to be on everyone’s shopping list, and yet that’s not really the case. Well, certainly smartphones and mobile PCs rank near the top, as they have for years. However, several highly-publicized products haven’t ranked in the top 20 while other less-acclaimed standbys continue to rank well.

Smartwatches by anyone except Apple or Google? Home Thermostats? Chromebooks? They’re not in the top 20, languishing along with basic feature phones. Only a small number of tech buyers are showing true interest.

Diving into the purchase plans from our most recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP 2016), we’ve identified some very interesting patterns.

What are the top-planned tech products?

Smartphones top the list of purchase plans, with the majority being among those who already use a smartphone. Gaming PCs are strong, with Gaming Desktop PCs drawing nearly triple the interest of Gaming Notebook PCs. Traditional Notebooks continue to rank strongly, while other mobile PC plans are split between 2-in-1 and convertible designs.metafacts-top-30-plans-2016-12-08_16-51-01

Fitness trackers show promise, handily outranking plans for smartwatches by Apple, Google, or any of the many languishing others.

Two products continuing to show steady demand are the venerable Printer and Tower Desktop. Both continue to be ranked in the top 10 for interest.

Apple’s iPad continues to show solid interest, benefiting from recent product refreshes. Plans for Android tablets, however, don’t measure up to Apple’s.

Hits for key segments

What’s interesting is that most tech plans are not evenly spread across all technology users, and instead several key segments have plans that stand out from the pack.

Any tech purchase plans by age

One simple difference between those planning and those not planning – age. Tech purchase plans are stronger among younger than older adults.metafacts-plans-overall-by-age-2016-12-07_15-53-38

Younger adults have stronger plans to purchase any of the 30 tech products we surveyed respondents about. Adults age 30-34 are the peak group with overall purchase plans, with 77% planning to buy at least one product in the coming year. At the other end of the age spectrum, adults age 70 or above are the nadir group with respect to purchase plans, with 29% planning to buy any of the surveyed tech products.

Sigma analysis show youthful intensity

A summation analysis reveals stronger purchase intensity among younger than older adults. The sigma – summation of the plans for all of the respective tech products – shows that adults age 30-39 have the strongest plans of any age group. This is a more intensive curve than the above penetration analysis, reflecting the much broader range of plans among younger adults.metafacts-plans-summation-by-age-2016-12-07_15-53-38

The six most-age-skewed tech products

Six tech products stand out for being age-skewed – with the largest differences between plans among older and younger adults.

Gaming Desktop PCs are at the top of the list, with respect to the widest difference between those with and without plans by age groups. It’s not as if these tricked-out desktops are only pulled towards the youngest among us. The group with the strongest plans are adults age 30-34, which reflects in part that these older adults have the means to pay for these more-powerful PCs. It is also due in part that older adults have more PC usage and experience, with productivity activities as in game planning.

Smartphones – both Apple iPhones and Androids – are more popular with younger than older adults. Since younger adults have higher penetration of smartphone usage than older adults, this reflects a strong replacement market. Conversely, low interest levels also reflects a low likelihood for the smartphone market to strengthen its penetration among older adults.metafacts-age-skewed-plans-by-age-2016-12-07_16-23-42

PC purchase intentions are strongest among age 35-39 adults for more than one PC form factor. This reflects the desire for expanded PC use among this important segment, and also this group’s openness to have PCs which are packaged in different formats.

Something for each, but not every, age group
There’s something for everybody. Each age group has its preferences, with some products at the top of mind of nearly every age group. While looking at the top three ranked products within each age group, we found some interesting patterns. Apple’s iPhone is singular because it’s top-ranked in all groups – in the top three for all 11 age groups. Android Smartphones aren’t very far behind, being top-ranked in 9 groups. That the two oldest groups didn’t report Android Smartphones on their future purchase list may be due in part to the phone or carrier brand having stronger recognition than the Google Android operating system.

Three tech products are strongest among generally older groups – traditional notebooks, printers, and fitness trackers. That 7 of the 11 age groups rank traditional notebooks in the top of their shopping list bodes well for the venerable PC.

Although wearables such as Apple’s Watch and Google Wear have garnered much media attention, neither are in the top three for any age group. One wearable is, though, and it’s fitness trackers. Despite advertising often featuring slim younger women in yoga pants, fitness trackers only rank among the top three items for adults who are age 70 and above. This category is partly an example of aspirational marketing, appealing to those who want to be something they aren’t (yet).

  • The Apple iPhone is among the top 3 for all 11 age groups
  • Android Smartphone – ranked in 9 age groups – younger adults
  • Traditional Notebook – ranked in 7 groups – older adults
  • Printer – ranked in 4 age groups – generally older adults
  • Gaming Desktop PC – ranked in 4 age groups – younger adults
  • Fitness Tracker – only ranks in the top 3 in one age group – age 70+

The six most-spending-skewed tech products

Six tech products stand out based on analysis of consumer tech spending by quartiles. Top spenders – those in the top 1/4th of total household tech spending – are above average in their purchase plans for nearly every tech product. What’s interesting are the tech products which have captured above average interest among the next tier of buyers – those that are in the 3nd-highest quartile of total tech spending.

Within this spending segment, the six tech products which show above-average plans include three Apple products, three wearables, and a fun-oriented category.

The uniquely-strong products from Apple include the iPhone, iPad, and Watch. Apple’s regular product line refresh has helped keep interest high.metafacts-plans-by-spend-2016-12-07_14-32-45

Interestingly, interest for fitness trackers outpaces smartwatches, even among the biggest spenders. This supports, in part, the notion that cost would be a primary barrier to smartwatch adoption. Even more so, it reflects the early stage wearables have in the user’s device collection. There is still plenty of experimentation ahead, as entrants come and go, as ecosystems flower and fade, and mostly as more mainstream users integrate wearable devices into their regular activities.

What you have today – and what you’ll have next – Plans by current device combination
Our research continues to show that future tech purchases are strongly affected by consumer’s current products. Two device combinations stand out as those with the strongest tech purchase plans. Users with a desktop, notebook, mobile, and a tablet make up 31% of connected adults, and those with a notebook, tablet, and mobile phone are 10% of adults. Users with other combinations have tech purchase plans below average.

Five tech products stand out by having stronger-than-average plans among these two popular combos. The Apple iPhone tops the list, with 13% of all connected adults planning to buy one. For those with all four devices – desktop, notebook, tablet, and mobile phone – 19% plan to get an Apple iPhone, well above the average. Those juggling three devices – notebook, tablet, and mobile phone – are also above average in planning to get an Apple iPhone, with 16% planning to get one.metafacts-plans-by-combo-2016-12-07_15-47-47

Purchase plans for traditional notebooks are also strong, and in this case strongest among this 2nd-ranked combination, representing an additional or replacement notebook for 13% of adults. Plans for the largest combination segment are also stronger than average, at 11% of these adults.

Other above tech products for both of these device-combination segments include a Fitness Tracker such as a FitBit, an Apple iPad, and an Android Tablet.

Looking ahead
Looking ahead, we expect the tech-device-rich to get tech-richer, with those who have the broadest collection of technology products and services to remain within that segment of super-tech users. Wearables are still having a tough time finding interest among a broad market, much less finding broad adoption.

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.

Numerous TUP sections feature analysis of spending plans. These include the Overview, Age Ranges, Age, Gender, Adoption Summary, PC Adoption, Mobile Phone Adoption, Adoption Years, Device Combinations, Primary and Secondary Devices, Devices OS Ecosystems, Brand Footprint, Key Devices, Key Devices/OS, Home-Family PCs, Recently Purchase PCs, Purchase Year, Tablets, Mobile Phones, Smartphone, Basic cell phone, Smartphone Data, Lines, Spending, Wearable Technology, Hearables/Listening, TVs, Music Players, and Social Networks sections.

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Filed under Consumer research, Desktops, Market Research, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, Technology adoption, TUP 2016

Tech for some of us? Tech usage and age (TUPdate)

Tech for some of us? Tech usage and age – Dan Ness, November 10, 2016

I’ve been to county fairs where a carnival seer will guess your age and weight. If these diviners were steeped in tech awareness, might they be able to go further and guesstimate if the person uses a video doorbell, 3D printer, or VR headset? I doubt it. Not being psychic, we rely on directly asking people through scientific surveys.

Although age alone doesn’t tell everything about a technology user, analysis of the market by age reveals some striking differences in user’s technology activities, use cases, consumer electronics penetration, connected device usage, and tech purchase intentions.MetaFacts td1611-plans-youth-skewed-2016-11-10_09-23-41

Market penetration is steeply skewed towards younger adults for most consumer electronics products and services. Analyzing our survey results from TUP 2016, most consumer electronics products index higher among younger than older adults. (An index of 100 means that the product is being used as the same rate as the national average.) Products that index well above 200 (double the national rate) for age 25-39 are many, including OTT TV Boxes ASUS Cube, Google Nexus Player and Google/Android TV. To dispel the notion this age group is sedentary, golf swing analyzers also index high. Furthermore, this group is tech-feathering their nests with video doorbells and smart locks.MetaFacts td16-elder-skewed-2016-11-09_16-51-10

Older adults can claim dominance in other consumer electronics products and services. Subscription to Cable TV is stronger among older than younger adults. Many younger adults that watch TV do so using the Internet. Turntables that play vinyl albums (Record Players) index more strongly among older adults. This may in part reflect that older adults may still have vinyl collections to play, while younger adults can either play newer more-expensive albums or track down older LPs. The elder-skewed usage indexes are not as strongly defined as those for youth-skewed, reflecting moderate use of both of these products and services among younger adults.

I know from decades of consumer research that age is only one factor describing technology users. So, I drilled down further into TUP to adjust for educational attainment and employment status. By rank order, the list of age-skewed consumer electronics is nearly identical by age for employed and self-employed adults. This pattern is similar for those who are college educated.

A similar pattern emerges for Connected Devices. Certain products are being used by a higher share of younger than older adults.MetaFacts td1611-devices-youth-skewed-2016-11-10_09-25-15

Interestingly, the highest-ranked youth-skewed top devices weren’t personally paid for by younger adults, and instead were bought by their employers. These range from work e-Book Readers and Tablets to All-in-One PCs and yes, Basic cell phones. When younger adults buy tech with their own money, two more highly-favored devices are Game Consoles and Apple MacBooks. Furthermore, whether as a sign of mobility, resourcefulness or freeloading, younger adults index higher for use of a public/shared printer, such as might be in a cybercafé, library, or hotel business center. They also index higher for using three or more printers, regardless of ownership.

There’s an old adage that goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is likely uttered more often among older than younger adults. The active installed base for older adults skews higher for Home PCs running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7. Personal basic feature phones also index higher by older adults.MetaFacts td1611-devices-elder-skewed-2016-11-10_09-24-29

Considering the near future through buyer sentiment, a similarly distinctive young/old pattern emerges. Gaming Desktops and Gaming Notebooks, those highly-configured clocked-up fun machines, are skewed more steeply than current usage indexes. Smaller and often more-stylish PCs in the Mini Desktop PC form factor rank strongest. One product which might surprise some is the Apple iPod Touch. It’s effectively a Wi-Fi iPhone, capable of running many iOS apps although without cellular coverage. Since younger adults index higher for Work Basic feature phones, perhaps this device is a stepping stone or companion. Other notable youth-skewing planned devices include wearables – Android SmartWatch, Apple Watch, or another Smart Watch.

Purchase intentions skewed toward older adults shows a different picture. From the long list of technology products we surveyed about, none show a measurably strong skew among older adults. The three products even near to being stronger for purchase intentions are the basic cell phone, a printer, and traditional notebook PC. As I mentioned earlier, younger adults have a higher likelihood to be using a work or public/shared printer than older adults, which may contribute to them not being as eager to buy one of their own. As to traditional notebooks, younger adults are also the ones more strongly considering convertible and 2-in-1 designs, while also many consider traditionals. The picture for basic cell phones is scattered due to their continued decline, so any remaining plans are less aligned by age than by socioeconomic situation.MetaFacts td1611-plans-youth-skewed-2016-11-10_09-23-41

There’s another dimension to age that bears inclusion – experience. Newbie users make different choices than technology veterans. I dove into our technology adoption data in TUP to compare purchase plans by the longevity of the user’s experience. While those who are in the newest-third of users of PCs, Mobile Phones, or Tablets are also generally younger, that’s not entirely the case. First-time use for a Tablet is not limited to young adults; plenty of 30-something and 40-somethings are continuing to join the ranks of active Tablet users. In fact, 59% of adults who have used a Tablet PC for 1 year or less are age 35 and higher.MetaFacts td1611-plans-by-more-experience-2016-11-10_10-40-10

As we analyzed the purchase plans of the most-seasoned technology users – those who are in the top-third with the most years having used a PC, Mobile Phone, or Tablet, we found that purchase intentions are focused on different products than among newbies. 3D Printers, 2-in-1 Laptops, and Fitness trackers index much higher among the tech-experienced.

Gaming Notebooks, Gaming Desktops, and Mini Desktop PCs rank strongly among tech newbies. Some of this correlates strongly with lower age, as mentioned earlier. However, Tower Desktop PCs also rank strongly. Cloud Home Monitoring/Security solutions stand out as an up-and-coming area which are holding the interest of tech newbies, and less so among the tech-experienced.MetaFacts td1611-plans-by-less-experience-2016-11-10_10-40-10

Age is a good start in understanding technology users. But, like the skill of a carnival psychic, only goes so far.

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 User Profile Chapter details age, as well as life stage, age cohort, employer size, and other key analysis points. The TUP 2016 Technology Adoption Chapter drills down into experience to profile Early Adopters, the Early and Late Majority, and Laggards.

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Filed under 3D Printers, Basic cell phones, Behaviors and Activities, Convertibles, Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Devices, e-Book Readers, Game Consoles, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Printers, Smartphones, Tablets, Technology adoption, TUP 2016, TUPdate

Are headset wearers bigger tech spenders? (MetaFAQs)

Wireless Bluetooth Headset wearers spend 2.7 times as much as the average Connected Adult on digital content.

Use of headsets and voice agents has been in tech media news recently as tech companies are trying again to light a spark among consumers.MetaFAQ from MetaFacts mq0111

The use of Bluetooth headsets has not grown for years. However, as the results of this MetaFAQ reveal, the few active users are big tech spenders and coveted.

Wireless Bluetooth headsets have gotten extra attention recently, with the recent release of Apple’s iPhone 7, Amazon Dot and Echo updates, and Google’s announcements around expanding the capabilities and reach of their voice agent Google Assistant. This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active wireless Bluetooth headset users.

Many other related answers are part of the TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapter with the most information about the users of wearables and hearables is the TUP 2016 Wearables, Hearables, Listening, and Speaking Chapter

These MetaFAQs are brought to you by MetaFacts, based on research results from their most-recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP).

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

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Filed under Communication, Consumer research, Entertainment, Forward-Leaning, Information and Search, MetaFAQs, Technology adoption, TUP 2016

How many users make video phone calls using a Tablet? (MetaFAQs)

Video phone calls are ideal when you want to see someone while you’re talking. The larger screens help you see more clearly. At the same time, many phone callers enjoy being mobile, so they can make or take calls when they like. Others enjoy relaxing in a couch or easy chair during calls, which may not be as easy while using a typical desktop PC.

Also, like a Goldilocks story, Smartphone screens are too small, Desktop screens big enough yet not mobile enough, and tablets are just right.

That’s at least part of the calculus for the 18.2 million adults who regularly make personal video phone calls using a Tablet, and 10 million who do so for work video calls.

MetaFacts-Tablet Video Callers

About this MetaFAQ

This brief MetaFAQs is a quick glimpse at current research findings of interest. In addition to profiling the voice and written communication activities of Tablet users, many other related answers are part of the TUP service, available to paid subscribers. One section of TUP 2016 which includes extensive results about Tablets is the TUP 2016 Tablet chapter. This is one of more than a dozen chapters in the entire TUP 2016 study.

These MetaFAQs are brought to you by MetaFacts, based on research results from the most-recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP).

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

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Filed under Communication, Market Sizing, MetaFAQs, Tablets, TUP 2016

Internet – solid market research from MetaFacts Technology User Profile

Extensive information about the internet and the ways people use it is available in TUP – Technology User Profile.

Not all access to the Internet is equal and consumers know it – voting with their fingers. In today’s multi-platform age, computers are not the only way online, and email may be losing ground as the king of activities.  Are fun, compelling, and emerging technologies making PCs a thing of the past?  Is social networking replacing snailish email?

Below are a few examples of questions addressed in TUP related to internet use. The full TUP service enables drilling down beyond the answers to these questions to identify which other technologies, services and behaviors are disruptive and to profile which market segments are and aren’t adopting. TUP is much more than a one-dimensional market view or opinion piece, since it provides a comprehensive source to answer the following questions, as well as many others.

  • What is the mix of communication products and services – landline, wireless, email, IM, etc. – by segment?
  • Most-mobile customers – where do they go and what do they do?
  • Which segments are keeping their files, calendars, or other information synchronized or backed up online?
  • Which market segments are dating online? What else do they frequently do online?
  • Are PC users primarily accessing the Internet at home, in the workplace, using friends or neighbor’s computers, or in public places such as libraries or cybercafés? Which users use other’s PCs and which have many to choose from? Are smartphones or netbooks changing this?
  • How many and which segments are watching and renting movies on which platforms?
  • What do users sync or “store” in the cloud? How do users share images – social networking sites or photo-specific sites? Which users are the most active?
  • Who’s busiest – desktop users or notebook users? How do their profiles differ?
  • How has the division of work vs. personal use of technology products continued to blur?
  • Which segments are utilizing cloud storage or sharing services? For which activities?
  • To what extent does game-playing drive online usage specifically and tech usage overall?
  • Tech adoption cycles may not be as fast as the tech-focused think. How many and which users still use older tech products?
  • What about the unemployed? Are they more or are they less tech-focused?
  • Who is using mobile payments?
  • Who is videoconferencing, and using which platform?
  • Which segments are the most music-intensive? What is the overlap of music-centered products and services by segment?
  • Primacy – what is the center of the user’s world? Their home PC, work PC, mobile phone? Is it one device or many?
  • What is the impact on privacy concerns on use of social networking?
  • Who are the true early adopters and laggards? How does this vary by actual usage of specific products and technologies?
  • What do most people do with their mobile phone as compared to their PC? Which user segments align with which platforms?
  • How much have PC users integrated PCs into their personal lives?
  • What about the anti-social – those that aren’t in an online social network? Who are they? In what other ways are they actively communicating and having fun? How does their spending profile compare?
  • How many screens do people view? Which market segments view more screens than other segments?
  • How prominent is printing images from mobile phones? How about from tablets?
  • Which market segments are blogging? How do they compare to social networkers?
  • Which segments are using which tech devices & carriers? For which activities?
  • Is the smartphone killing PC shopping?
  • How PC/Online & Mobile Phone activities compare? How is this different for Tablets or eBook Readers? Which segments use which device for the most activities?
  • Multitasking – who’s using many devices for many activities, versus few devices for many activities? How do user segments vary by quadrant?
  • What makes a smartphone a smartphone in the consumer’s eyes? How does usage compare to basic mobile phones? What are the user segments and usage profiles?
  • How many people use calendars on their PC, their mobile phone, or both? Which types of people are these?
  • What is the tech-owning profile of active gamers? Many consumer electronics entertainment products or focused on gaming? Many computers or few? How does this vary by segment?
  • What is the status of mobile phone transition, from basic feature phones to smartphones and non-users?
  • How many seniors are online? How is their behavior different than younger online users?
  • Who spends the most hours online?
  • How does the life and lifespan of a PC vary by form factor? Does it vary by brand? By user segment?
  • How does PC and online usage vary across segments such as workplace company size or industry?
  • Entertainment primacy – what is the center of the user’s home entertainment world? Is it one device or many? Which devices and services, and among which segments?
  • How are users communicating, given all their communication options?
  • Which segments have recently paid for a downloaded mobile phone app?
  • Do mobile PC users print differently than desktop users? Do the more-mobile use more or fewer printers? Do the more-mobile print different content?
  • Who are the people who shop for technology products on the web, but purchase at a local retail outlet?
  • Online shoppers – are they everyone, or unique?
  • How are smartphones challenging or complementing mobile PCs? Which market segments are coalescing around which platforms?
  • What other activities are just outside the box for gamers? Online dating? Social Networking? Music? Movies? Entertainment in general?
  • Age-related market adoption – which products and services are age-skewed? Which are skewed toward older rather than younger users?
  • iPhone users – who are they really? How do they compare with Android and Blackberry users?
  • Is it really one to a customer? How often are PCs shared? Which market segments use more than one PC?
  • How are Facebook users different from users of other Social Networks? Beside demographics, what else distinguishes these from each other?
  • What types and combinations of consumer electronics are homes using?
  • Which combination of tech devices is the most popular today? How large is each segment? Who are in each segment? Which direction are they headed with their buying plans?
  • Is social networking only for certain age groups?
  • Which social networks show the most growth-oriented activity? Which segments show signs of losing interest or withdrawing?
  • What are the attitudes about texting and driving? Who is most supportive and who is mostly opposed?
  • Who are the biggest tech spenders? Which segments spend the most and least for devices? How does spending for tech services differ?
  • How do online shopping activities differ between Hewlett Packard, Apple and Dell customers?
  • Do PC users behave differently as they gain more experience? Are Newbies or Vets mostly focusing on certain activities versus a broad mixture?
  • Who is buying the highest-end PCs? Are there brand differences? What else do users buy and what else do they use?
  • Tracfone for oldsters? Who has the oldest segment by carrier?

If solid answers to any of these questions would help your work in creating the future, please contact MetaFacts.

MetaFacts, Inc. helps technology marketers find and measure their best and future customers.

Current subscribers of Technology User Profile may obtain this information directly from MetaFacts, as well as additional customized drilling down into the full dataset.

For more information on the results delivered in TUP and about how to subscribe, please contact MetaFacts.

The above questions are answered with the TUP 2012 edition, and most are also answered in the TUP 2011 edition for ready trend comparison.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Market Segmentation, MetaFAQs, Statistics, Tech Market, Trends, TUP 2011, TUP 2012