Tag Archives: Demographics

Alone Americans – Overlooked Technology Users? [TUPdate]

Sometimes the slow-moving trends are the ones that get missed. Coupled with preconceived notions, these have the makings of blind spots. For many tech companies, single-person American households may be an overlooked market segment.

Based on research by the U.S. Census and our TUP/Technology User Profile service, 1-person American households are a sizable and growing segment with more to them than may be apparent at first. Also, they are not created equally, especially in which technology products and services they actively use.

Tech marketers often advertise with images of bustling families juggling their lives and devices. Soccer moms abound. This perpetuates a myth that’s leaving many out in the less connected and underserved cold. Furthermore, many companies from Amazon to Spotify and T-Mobile have created family plans that financially favor multi-person households, making their offerings less attractive to the many 1-person households.

While it makes sense for any marketers to focus on the biggest-seeming opportunities, and families are big tech consumers, sometimes this is done out of habit or custom, which may mean missing opportunities.

The number of single-person households has grown in share and number

The US Census reports that single-person households make up 28% of households in 2018, up substantially up from 13% in 1960. Similarly, the number of households has also grown, at 35.7 million in 2018, up from 6.9 million in 1960. Whether through preference or necessity, 1-person households are a substantial slice of the American market. Most forecasts indicate the share remaining stable for years to come.

On First Glance, 1-Person Households Seem Tech-Avoidant

When it comes to the devices Americans in 1-person households use, our TUP/Technology User Profile service shows that as a group, they’re behind the curve. American 1-person households appear to be languishing in technology’s past. They are 27% more likely than the average online American adult to still be using a home PC using Windows 7, the Microsoft operating systems nearing its end of life. The replacement for Windows Vista officially came off Microsoft’s mainstream support four years ago – in January 2015. Extended support has been available, yet that support is scheduled to be discontinued in less than one year, by January 2020. Also, 1-person households are well above average (22% higher than average) in their use of a home-owned basic feature phone.

In contrast, American households where children are present have well above-average rates of using many key devices – Windows tablets, game consoles, and Apple Notebooks. This simple view may clarify why some companies prefer to simply tailor their products and services to larger households and avoid smaller ones.

However, looking more deeply into 1-person households, there’s more than household size and core technology that reveals their differences.

A Deeper Look – Young and Old Singles

Within 1-person households, there’s a striking difference between younger and older adults in the profile of their technology usage. The highest usage index for Windows 7 home PCs is among older (age 35+) singles, at 48% higher than the national average. Similarly, there’s an index of 131 for use of a home-owned basic feature phone.

In stark contrast, among younger 1-person households, usage is strongly higher for many key technology devices: game consoles, Apple iPhones, Apple PCs (Macs), Apple notebooks, and Windows tablets.

However, age alone does not adequately describe 1-person households and their technology usage, nor does combining age and household size. There are yet other factors.

Size, Age, and Employment Status

Drilling down into the TUP/Technology User Profile results even more deeply, the combination of household size, age group, and employment status shows even stronger differences.

Have a job – part-time or full-time or even self-employed – and be younger than 40, and you’ll be among the highest technology adopters among 1-person households.

They are above average in using a Windows or Android Tablet, an Apple PC, iPhone, and game console.

The lowest technology adopters are those not employed outside the household and in 1-person households, both younger and older. These have the highest relative levels of using Windows 7 home PCs and home basic cell phones.

Family Plans Aren’t Only Used by Families

Interestingly, even while family/multi-person plans are ostensibly targeted at larger households, a substantial number of 1-person households are using them.

Nearly one-fourth (24%) of 1-person households have a smartphone plan with 2 or more lines. Similarly, “family” paid media subscriptions such as for music or TV are being used by 18% of America adults in 1-person households.

Looking ahead

Shifts in population may seem glacial especially by those in technology industries who are accustomed to frequent shifts. People change their living situations less quickly than they change their adoption of technology. Consequently, technology companies would be better served, as would 1-person households, to the extent these users are included in their offerings.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from the 2018 wave of TUP (Technology User Profile), 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.

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 Basic cell phones, Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Households, Market Research, Market Segmentation, Market Sizing, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2018, Usage Patterns

Favorite Device Combinations – Flexibility and Juggling [TUPdate]

Users vote with their fingers, demonstrating what they like by what they actually use. The top combination includes four devices – a desktop, notebook, tablet, or smartphone – and actively used by one in six (16%) of online adults in the US.

This is based on the three most recent waves of Technology User Profile (TUP), the 2016 through 2018 waves. These were based on 7,336, 7,521, and 7,886 US online adult representative responses, respectively.

The top four combinations are used by over half (52%) of online Americans. All of the top combinations include a smartphone, three include a desktop, and two include a tablet. These major combinations have remained the most widely used for the last three years, representing the choice of around half of online Americans for the last three years.

Elders come on board

The average age of those using tablets or PCs without smartphones has dropped in the last year. Between 2017 and 2018, the average age of those using only a tablet – and no PC or smartphone – has dropped from 50.4 years old to 45.5. Similarly, those using a desktop and tablet and no smartphone has dropped from 53.8 years to 49.4. Those using 4 types of devices – a desktop, notebook, tablet, and smartphone, average 41.4 years old, in stark contrast to those using only a desktop, at 56 years old.

Looking ahead

Despite much media attention on this device or another “taking over the world”, most American users continue to juggle multiple devices.

Although innovative crossover products continue to make splashes and inroads, from foldable phones to all-in-one and convertibles, the majority of users persist in finding ways to stay productive and entertained with their varied types of devices. It seems users are currently more flexible than their devices.

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.

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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, Convertibles, Desktops, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Smartphones, 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

Smartphones Rise, PCs and Printers Float, Tablets Waver – User Trends (TUPdate)

Connected Adults using Key Devices

The number of connected adults continues to rise in the US. Based on our Technology User Profile (TUP) 2017 wave, there are 212.6 million adults who regularly connect to the Internet using a PC, Mobile Phone, Tablet, or Game Console. This number is up 18.9 million from the 193.8 million adults we reported in our TUP 2013 wave.

While some of the increase has come from a growing adult population, the share of adults actively connected has also grown, due in large part to the increasing use of Smartphones.

The use of Tablets such as Apple’s iPad has also expanded since 2013, although declined somewhat in 2017.

Home PC usage has remained relatively stable, having appeared to be on the decline after 2013, only to regain again slightly. In part, this return was supported as buyers picked up new All-in-One and Gaming PC designs. Also, many online shoppers are still preferring their larger-screen PCs or Tablets over their Smartphones.

Use of Home Printers continues to have steady, if modest, growth. The percent of Home PC users with Home Printers has rebounded from 82% in 2013 to 88% in 2017. Home inkjets continue to be the user’s printer of choice.

Key Device User Profile

American Technology Users are getting older, on average. The average (mean) age of Connected Adults has increased gradually since 2013, rising from 44.1 to 44.9. The average age of Smartphone users has grown the most dramatically, rising from 37.2 in 2013 to 43.1 in 2017. Similarly, the average Tablet users is older than only a few years ago, rising from 40.2 in 2013 to 44.2 in 2017.

Average Age of Connected Adults using Key Devices

Home Desktops continue to be used by older adults than users of Notebooks, Smartphones or Tablets, although the average age has declined somewhat.

Digging deeper, we looked at the shifts in usage rates for key devices among parents. Adults with children are the biggest spenders on technology devices and services, as we’ve reported in other findings we’ve released from MetaFacts TUP.

Smartphone usage has grown strongly between 2013 and 2017, although is appearing to be leveling off to be just slightly higher than the current level. At 87% of adults with children, Smartphones are ahead of Home PCs. The use of Home PCs by parents has dropped somewhat from 85% in 2013 to 78% in 2017. Home printer use remained a steady 70%-71% among parents.

% of Parents using Key Devices

Adults with children make up 37% of Connected Adults in 2017, higher than the rate in 2013, which was 32%. In addition to being a sizable segment of the market by numbers, as we’ve reported elsewhere in TUP, they spend much more than the average adult on technology devices and services.

Solo adults

Adults in one-person households have a different profile than parents. To begin with, Home Notebooks are used by fewer adults in one-person household than among adults with children, at 43%. Smartphone and Tablet usage has grown, although trails usage rates among parents.

Home Printer use has sagged among single adults, dropping from 68% in 2013 to 63% in 2017.

Solo adults make up 20% of Connected Adults in 2017, effectively the same rate as in 2013, at 21%.

% of Adults in One-Person Households using Key Devices

Looking ahead

The trend is continuing with a multi-device experience for many years to come. Although Tablets appeared to be emerging as a third device, most users actively use both a mobile phone and PC. While Smartphones are growing in use, they aren’t fully replacing PCs or Tablets for most of user’s activities. Although consumers continue to explore and experiment with ways to enjoy what they have, changes in behavior can come slowly. The inertia of consumers is a major factor.

About this TUPdate

This TUPdate 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 2013 through 2017, its 35th consecutive wave. Similar results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.

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Filed under Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Devices, Market Research, Market Sizing, Notebooks, Smartphones, Statistics, Tablets, Tech Market, TUP 2013, TUP 2014, TUP 2015, TUP 2016, TUP 2017, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

Voice Assistants-Does Age Matter? (MetaFAQs)

Age by Recency of Voice Assistant Use

Age matters when it comes to Voice Assistant use, and it’s overly simplistic to say that they’re mostly being used by younger adults. Yes, there’s a strong age difference between active Voice Assistant users, former users, and those who’ve never even given one a try. And yes, otherwise-connected adults that have never used a Voice Assistant are older than active users by a decade. The average age of a Connected Adult who has never used a Voice Assistant is 51.7 years. By comparison, the average age for active Voice Assistant users, those who’ve used one at least once within the last 90 days, is 41.6 years.

However, in this time of experimentation and users finding their own voices, younger adults are disproportionately former Voice Assistant users. They used a Voice Assistant within the last year and haven’t used one since.

This is based on results from the MetaFacts Voice User Profile (VUP) survey conducted in February 2018. The results report on active usage, which is a practical measure to contrast with the promised potential of what Voice Assistants may or may not be able to do.

Our TUP 2017 results show a similar pattern – the novelty effect. Older Millennials have the highest active Voice Assistant usage rates. This group of 28-36 year-olds also shows the steepest dropoff between recent and less-recent use. This novelty effect is also prevalent among younger millennials (age 18-27) as their usage rate drops.

Voice Assistant Usage Recency by Age

Observations

As a long-time tech analyst, I’ve seen many technologies go through fits and starts as they either reach broader adoption or settle back into their niches. Apple’s Macs had PlainTalk 25 years ago, yet the voice recognition and speech synthesis system never reached widespread regular use. Still, the earliest adopters found ways to use these early Voice Assistants, such as dictation. Apple’s Siri arguably brought usable Voice Assistants into handy use for a much broader audience. The most-recent entries from Amazon and Microsoft to Google have brought a lot of heat and light to the category, although it’s still too early to declare Voice Assistants as be mainstream. There are many challenges ahead for makers of Voice Assistant systems and listening devices. It’s hard enough to encourage users to experiment with a Voice Assistant. It’s even harder to get users to continue using a technology after the novelty wears off. Many who have tried have given up, disappointed or daunted that their Voice Assistant hasn’t lived up their, er, its words.

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
  • Reasons given why consumers have never used a Voice Assistant, as well as why former users aren’t currently active users

Source

The information in this MetaFAQ is based on a survey of 7,410 online adults in mid-2017 as part of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile (TUP) study and 525 online adults during February 2018 as part of the MetaFacts Voice User Profile (VUP) study. The TUP and VUP study universes included a representative sample of online adults, with active Voice Assistant users, former Voice Assistant users, as well as consumers who have never used a Voice Assistant. Current TUP subscribers can obtain the results of this newest research at a discount. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to VUP or TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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Filed under Voice Assistant