Tag Archives: Home PCs

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.

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

The Persistent PC – With A Perennial Core [TUPdate]

Americans continue to hang on to PCs as they expand their collection of actively connected devices. Instead of Tablets and Smartphones fully replacing PCs, they have added to the mix. Even so, the most-dedicated core of PC has settled to a stable size following the shift.

This is based on the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile study waves from 2009 through 2018, collectively based on research results from 77,847 respondents.

The PC-intensive have shrunk in numbers over the years, establishing a solid minority. The most intensive – Adults with more PCs than people in their household – has coalesced into a core 10% of American adults. Moderate-intensity users – those with as many PCs in use as persons in their household – have been stable over the last decade in representing around one in four adults. In 2018, 22% of online Americans had as many PCs as people in their household.

The drive to mobility has finished making its impact. The transition to notebooks over desktops peaked in 2012, while smartphones, and tablets to some extent, diminished the need for many adults to be using more than one PC. As the lines continue to be blurred between tablets and PCs, and in other ways smartphones and tablets, users will increasingly focus on their activities. Rather than looking at devices first, users will make choices based on what it will take for them to get done that which they want to do.

Profile of the many-PC users

Adults with many PCs are generally younger than average and with a higher socioeconomic status. Almost two-thirds (65%) of adults actively using 3 or more PCs are college graduates, in contrast to 44% of online adults nationwide. Most (86%) are employed or self-employed, versus 61% nationwide. Over half (52%) are millennials (age 22-37/born 1981-1996) versus making up 34% of online adults nationwide. Also, 59% have annual household incomes of $75,000 or more (versus 38% nationwide) and over half (56%) have children in the households (versus 37% nationwide).

More adults who rely on a single PC choose HP. HP’s home PC share of the installed base among those adults using only one PC is 31%, followed by Dell’s share of 25%.

Looking Ahead

PCs are a present and vital part of the online user’s experience. This is likely to continue well into the future, although the definition of a PC is continuing to evolve. Users have expanded their activities across their many and multiple devices, broadly accepting multi-platform software supported by cloud storage. From tablets adding capabilities traditionally the province of PCs and notebooks adding abilities previously limited to smartphones or tablets, the definitions of device types is shifting. However, users continue to embrace change, shifting their device usage patterns more slowly than they discontinue their older devices. HP and Dell have strong brand share and inertia, and yet face strong challenges ahead as users shift from doing what they’ve done with PCs, and increasingly embrace multiple devices and platforms.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from multiple waves of TUP (Technology User Profile), including 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.

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 Behaviors and Activities, Consumer research, Devices, Households, Market Research, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Multiple-PC Household, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate

How central and vital are home PCs? [TUPdate]

Home PCs users are very active, yet they don’t only stay at home on their computers. They use a wide variety of other connected devices. The majority of home PC users (82% to 95%) also use a mobile phone. Of these, smartphones dominate. It may some surprise those steeped in technology that basic cell phones/feature phones persist in the hands of many – from 9% to 28% of home PC users.

These findings are based on results from our TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 survey, including 11,294 online adult home PC users.

Active home users

Home PC users spend more time with their home PCs than with other devices. In China, smartphone use us nearly at parity. Among home PC users in China, weekly hours using a PC are 33.2, only slightly more than the 32.5-hour average for smartphone use. By contrast, in the UK and Germany, home PC users spend nearly the same amount of time with their home PCs as do users in the other countries surveyed. However, in these countries, users spend far fewer hours with their smartphones. Across all countries surveyed, Tablets are a distant third place, being used for a third to a quarter as many hours as home PCs.

Looking ahead

I expect home PCs to continue as a solid staple among the majority of consumers. Although an increasing number of users are relying on their mobile phones for a growing range of regular activities, users prefer home PCs over smartphones or tablets for certain activities. Both thoughtful shopping and movie watching are helped with the clearer and larger images on bigger screens, such as those attached to traditional home desktops or integrated with all-in-one designs.

The biggest threat to home PCs usage is user’s willingness to shift their activities from one device type or ecosystem to another. Users are showing their growing acceptance of and demand for cross-platform applications while still expressing their incessant demands for convenience and simplicity. As users continue to increase their literacy and comfort with multiple ecosystems, and developers continue to streamline the multi-device/multi-OS experience, users will continue to follow the enticing cookies of compatibility through the forest of interoperability and may yet give up on their home PCs. Meanwhile, user inertia and habit are the greatest friends of the home PC.

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 Basic cell phones, Consumer research, Desktops, Entertainment, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Shopping, Tablets, 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

Inexorable Device Trends – Beyond the Niche, Fad, and Fizzle

Inexorable Device Trends – Beyond the Niche, Fad, and Fizzle – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, March 10, 2017

It can be exciting to see the hockey-stick charts, with everything up and to the right. It’s important to put the numbers into context, though, through a more grounded analysis of the active installed base. Yes, Apple’s long-climb into broader use of their triumvirate is substantial, Smartphones are quickly replacing basic cell phones, and PCs and Printers persist. Their market size confirms their importance.

We humans are wired to notice change. Our very eyes send more information about motion than background. While life-saving should tigers head our way, this capability can be our undoing if we miss gradual changes, like the slithering snake in the grass creeping towards us. Watching an installed base of technology has some parallels. For some, it can seem as if nothing is really changing even while important shifts are taking place.

For over 35 years, I have tracked technology usage trends and profiles, all calibrated by watching customers through surveys such as our Metafacts Technology User Profile. Among other truisms, I’ve seen that true technology trends aren’t sudden. Solid trends are the summation of the habits, preferences, and activities of millions of technology users. They’re inescapable, inexorable, and years in the making. Trends become truly important when they’ve spread beyond being a niche, fad, or fizzle, and reached beyond those first few early adopters.

In this analysis, I’m diving into several key broad dominant trends in technology device usage across American adults. In separate analyses, I’ll drill deeper into the next level of TUP data, revealing which market segments are making the most decisive changes. Continue reading

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Filed under Basic cell phones, Consumer research, Desktops, Devices, Market Sizing, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Operating systems, Printers, Smartphones, Trends, TUP 2016, TUPdate