Tag Archives: Global

Smartphones challenge Mobile PCs – the users speak

A TUPdate from MetaFacts by Dan Ness, Principal Analyst

You can’t go out for coffee these days without sharing space with legions of dedicated smartphone users doing everything from texting their friends to checking the latest NFL or soccer scores. With smartphone functionality and the number of available apps increasing at hyper speed, could this trend foreshadow the decline of the mobile computer and relegate all those laptops, netbooks and tablets to the land of the Atari? Will Apple iPhones, RIM Blackberries, Winphones or the Android-powered grab the fingers of the most-mobile among us?  Our new MetaFacts Technology User Profile, 2009 Global Insights Edition polled over 22,000+ online PC adults in 10 developed countries and found some surprising answers.

Why is this important?

Makers of mobile computers, smartphone manufacturers, wireless carriers and application developers should all be watching these trends closely both from an R&D standpoint and a marketing perspective. OEMs of desktop computers should also take heed if more and more users opt for portables even if they don’t use them in more than one location.

First let’s look at who’s using mobile PCs these days and where they are using them. Not surprisingly, this is a younger group overall. The average age of online adult mobile PC users is nearly seven years younger than the average desktop user. Nearly a third of the mobile computer users are in the college age to early career category of 18-34 year olds.

Just where are mobile PCs being used? The age of the user is also a factor here. The younger users are, the more likely they were to report using their mobile computers in four or more locations, a finding that is likely reflective of the more mobile lifestyle of this segment.

But desktop and mobile PC manufacturers take notice: Nearly half of mobile PCs are used in only one location. This begs the question of why these homebody mobiles are stuck in their desk job. If this trend continues, will the pendulum swing away from netbooks and ever-lighter notebook PCs back to full-featured desktop replacements?

And the mobile PCs seem to be working harder than desktops. The portables are logging more hours than their desktop cousins with nearly 25% being used for 40 or more hours per week versus 18% of desktops being used that much.

So what are these mobile computer users doing with their portables? While their activities are generally the same as those performed on their desktops, the survey showed that mobile PCs which are used in multiple locations appeared to be much more integrated into the user’s life. These younger multiple-location PC users reported performing nearly double the number of activities on their mobile PCs than the group reporting that their mobile PCs remained tethered to one location.

The more years people use computers, the more activities they add to their list of things to do with their machines. PC Veterans, people who have used computers over a quarter of their lives, use their mobile PCs for more activities than PC Newbies, regardless of their age. Not surprisingly, users in the 18-24 age category use their mobile PCs more often for entertainment and communication than older mobile computer users.

Now let’s turn to the role that cell phones play in the mobile PC world. With the ever-increasing functionality of phones, is the choice of mobile connectivity an either/or when it comes using mobile computers and smartphones? Our survey showed quite the opposite. Even the savviest of smartphone users are not likely to give up their mobile computers. Interestingly, the adults who reported using the most functionality on their phones also reported using their mobile PCs in more locations, nearly twice the number of those who used their mobile phones only as basic phones. Bottom line: When it comes to the question of whether to take the smartphone or the mobile PC to the cybercafé, the current answer is often “both.”

If today’s mobile PCs could talk, they might paraphrase Mark Twain’s famous quote, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Further Resources

MetaFacts Technology User Profile – 2009 Global Insights Edition – a syndicated survey of 30,889 representative respondents in 16 countries

MetaFacts Technology User Profile – 2009 Global Insights Edition – Developed Economies – a syndicated survey of 22,072 representative respondents in 10 countries

MetaFacts Mobile PC Brand Profile Report – analysis of the mobile market based on results in MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2008 Annual Edition – a syndicated survey of over 10,000 representative respondents in the U.S.

About this TUPdate

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 TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world. Interested technology professionals can sign up at http://technologyuser.com/contact/ for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

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 market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information about the syndicated research service, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2009, TUPdate

Developing world for developers – Windows 7 upgrade

Developing world for developers – Windows 7 upgrade – By Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts

Software developers can create the most incredible applications, but will people want them? With Microsoft’s newest upgrade to the Windows operating system, the first question PC vendors and software developers alike ask is how soon users will upgrade. Or, will they wait until they buy their next PC?

Behavior and intention are two strong indicators to start with. As part of Technology User Profile, MetaFacts asked over 30,889 PC users around the world about their plans to upgrade their operating system. We also asked them whether they acquired their previous operating system with their computer or separately.

Three of the five BRIC-M countries: Brazil, Russia, and India’s Upper Urbanites ranked highest in what they say they want to do and what they’ve done in the past. Nearly half of the Russian online adults we surveyed acquired their last operating system separately from their PC, as did over a third of Brazilian online adults and nearly a third of India’s Upper Urbanites. This has as much to do with the weakness of major PC brands in these countries as it has to do with the economics of buying and using PCs.

Piracy is potentially an issue as well, since in two of these three regions, one-fifth or more agreed that it’s acceptable to use unlicensed software at home or in the workplace.

Three additional countries worthy of note as potentially strongest markets for the Windows 7 upgrade: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Germany, and China’s Urbanites. Each of these countries is ranked in the top five in either their OS purchase plans or past upgrading experience.

Some of Microsoft’s strongest markets – the UK, US, France, Netherlands, and Japan – are at the bottom of the list when ranked by intention and behavior. It may be that these seasoned PC veterans – 25% or more of whom who have used a PC for 13 or more years – have been through enough versions of Windows to have them wait and see.

To answer these and many other questions, MetaFacts conducted its 27th wave of Technology User Profile, surveying over 45,000 online and offline adults in 16 countries for its Global Insights Edition. The multi-modal multi-phase study was conducted using a careful combination of offline and online methods.

I expect the first wave of Windows upgraders to come from Germany, Australia, Spain, and Italy, taking these and other factors into account. These will be followed by the UK, the US, and France. After that, the newest crop of notebooks from HP and Dell are the most likely direction users will go to enjoy this newest Windows version.

About this TUPdate

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 TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world. Interested technology professionals can sign up at http://technologyuser.com/contact/ for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

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 market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information about the syndicated research service, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2009