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PC and Tablet Choosers Outspend Phone Choosers [TUPdate]

Those who choose a PC or Tablet for what they do spend more than those who primarily choose a mobile phone. Choosing a phone to communicate is widespread and these users spend the least each year on household technology devices and services. Those primarily choosing a tablet for their cloud storage or productivity activities are few in number and spend the most each year on technology.

This is based on results from the latest MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 study, it’s 36th continuous wave. This analysis is focused on 7,886 U.S. survey respondents.

The majority of online adults in the U.S. regularly use more than one device, and they’re increasingly choosing between their various devices for each of the activities they’d like to get done. As they experiment with their activities across different devices, they begin to develop preferences for one device type or another. For example, they may do some shopping on a smartphone as well as a tablet or PC, and then use a PC for the majority of their shopping activities. Similarly, they may communicate by text, email, voice or video calls across their devices, and then choose to use a smartphone for most of their communication activities.

Communication activities especially favor mobile, highly-connected devices, to better let users enjoy quickly response or simultaneous communication. This is shown in the 129.8 million U.S. adults who primarily use a phone to communicate. There are 55.2 million U.S. adults who primarily use a PC to communicate, as they primarily use email or sit at their desktop or notebook for video conference calls.

We compared these activity-device groups against annual household technology spending. This spending spans devices and services, from purchases of smartphones, PCs, printer and tablets, to internet and TV services, installation, and media. The biggest technology spenders choose tablets over PCs or phones for nearly every category of activity. This reflects in part that tablets are often a user’s third device, and that the biggest spenders have more devices than average.

Looking ahead

The growing use of cloud storage coupled with broadened wireless Internet access has helped users to become less dependent on a single device or location. Apps to support user’s favorite activities are still not universally available across device types and operating systems, and this continues to reduce the ease with which users can move between the mix of devices they have access to. As app developers continue to design multi-platform apps that truly span device types and environments, this will help users expand their collection of actively used devices.

We expect users to continue to use various and multiple devices, and increase their ease at switching between them. The world ahead looks good for jugglers.

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. From the installed base we focused in on online adults and how they use a Smartphone, PC, or Tablet through a broad collection of activities. Through analysis of these results we identified which type of devices they used primarily for these activities.


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 Behaviors and Activities, Cloud Storage, Communication, Consumer research, Desktops, Entertainment, Game Consoles, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Personal and Productivity, Shopping, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

How Apple computers are used distinctly from Windows PCs

Apple Home PC users are simply more active than Windows Home PC users. They use their computers for a wider range of activities – 21.1 – than Windows Home PC users – at 17.5 activities.

Also, Apple Home PCs are used differently than Windows Home PCs. Apples are more often used for graphics & imaging, personal, and communication activities, with more than 25% more activities in each category. Apple users simply find a wider range of uses for their computers than Windows users.

Number of Activities by Type - Apple Profile Report 2008

Number of Activities by Type – Apple Profile Report 2008

When it comes to the everyday activities for a Home PC, there is little difference between Apple and Windows PCs. The top 10 activities on Apples are the same as the top 10 for Windows PCs, although the order is slightly different.

Among the top 20 activities for Apple Home PCs, only three are unique to Apple – not in the top 20 for Windows Home PCs:

  •  #14 – Download music or MP3s
  •  #16 – Use a community/social networking group (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Ryze)
  •  #17 – Read online publications (e.g. ezines, blogs)

There are 11 activities which stand out as uniquely Apple, reaching a much higher proportion of its base. Some of these activities are not widespread, so might be leading-edge if they gain popularity among Windows users, or may simply reflect Apple’s unique users.

For example, creating web pages is a function of Apple’s software as well as its audience. One-fourth (25%) of Apple Home PCs are used to create web pages, compared with one in nine (11%) Windows Home PCs. Apple simply makes it easy and smooth to create well-accepted web sites, both with bundled software such as iLife, as well as commercially available software and a tightly supportive ecosystem. Also, Apple users are more often in the creative class, with occupations and interests that are more outer-directed and proactive than typical Windows users.

Uniquely Strong Activities for Apple Home PCs - Apple Profile Report 2008

Uniquely Strong Activities for Apple Home PCs – Apple Profile Report 2008

There is not a large difference in the number of hours that Apple users use their Home PCs than Windows Home PCs. On average, Apple Home PCs are used 18.1 hours per week, slightly less than the 18.5 hour average for Windows Home PCs. Even for the 3rd Home PC, the usage pattern is similar: with Apples being used 10.9 hours per week compared with Windows Home PCs at 9.9 hours per week.

Apple Home PC households have a slightly less utilitarian outlook than non-Apple households. Two-thirds (67%) of Apple households say they find their computer more useful than a year ago. A slightly higher share – 71% – of non-Apple households says the same.


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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2008