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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

Life Stages and Technology Adoption – TUPdate

Life Stage and Technology Adoption – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, December 16, 2016

The stages of life – although many take different paths – are a useful component of understanding technology users. Pivotal life events shape us – forming a family or empty-nesting, passing key birthdays, or joining or leaving from the workforce.
Kids matter – in many ways, and very much so when it comes to understanding technology spending, usage, adoption, and the future of tech. Simply knowing whether children are present or not provides a lot of explanatory power for a technology user’s profile.metafacts-tup-life-stage-factors-2016-12-16_11-17-07

Presence of children is one of three factors that make up life stage analysis, with the other two being age and employment status.
Within the TUP study, MetaFacts determines life stage by creating eight mutually-exclusive groups, each formed by two values of three components. We grouped respondent’s ages into 18-39 (“younger”) and 40 and above (“older”), and presence of children into present or not present. Being employed in the workforce includes any working full-time, part-time, or self-employed. Those not employed outside the home include students, the retired, homemakers, seasonally unemployed and temporarily unemployed.
Life stage analysis is a useful and productive way to quickly sift through mountains of sociodemographics. These three factors, although not exhaustive, provide strong definitional power with respect to predicting and profiling technology acquisition and usage.

Tech Spending by Life Stage

The biggest tech spenders are those adults within the life stage group: younger, employed, and with children. Adults age 18-38 who have kids and are actively employed full-time, part-time, or self-employed spend 66% more on tech devices and services in a year than the average adult. The second-biggest life stage group in tech spending also have kids and are employed, although are age 40 and up. This group’s tech spend is 16% higher than the national average.metafacts-td161215-life-stage-tech-spend-index-2016-12-15_11-48-59
At the other end of the spectrum, with the lowest tech spending levels, are adults age 40+, not employed, and without kids. Their index of 67 reflects their tech spending levels 33% below the national average for connected adults. All of the life stage groups without children spend below the national average for tech devices and services. Also, adults who are not employed outside the home spend less than the average connected adult on tech.

Consumer Electronics and Life Stage

Life stage analysis reveals both laggards and early adopters of many leading technology products. The connected home appears to be doing well – although only among one life stage segment. Employed adults age 18-39 with children stand heads and shoulders above all other segments in market penetration. From smart locks to video doorbells, this group’s usage is significantly stronger than other life stage groups. This group is also clearly strongest in the use of certain other consumer electronics products – golf swing analyzers, GoPro-type headcams, and to further feather the nest, home projectors. Relative penetration of this last item is not quite as different, reflecting in part the higher price of home projectors compared to these other devices, and that they have been available for more years than the other devices.metafacts-td161215-life-stage-consumer-electronics-2016-12-15_14-30-47

One consumer electronic product has reached entirely different life stage segments – the venerable record player. Although turntables and vinyl albums have enjoyed some resurgence following their near-extinction, current usage is primarily among adults age 40 and up, and less so among younger adults. In addition to nostalgic ties and musical memories, these listeners also are more likely to have old LPs.

Life Stage Penetration of Key Tech Devices

Life stage analysis also reveals differences in the use of many key computing and printing devices. The notebook penetration rate among adults employed 18-39 with kids is double that of adults not employed 40+ without kids. There’s an even stronger difference for use of a second PC, with Employed 18-39 with kids having triple the penetration rate of not employed 40+ without kids. And, with nearly a quintuple rate difference, use of game consoles among not employed adults age 18-39 with kids is two-thirds (66%), 4.8 times higher than the 14% rate among not employed 40+ without children.metafacts-td161215-life-stage-key-devices-2016-12-15_14-30-47

Number of Devices by OS

Windows dominates computing devices, as it has for decades. Among all life stage groups, the average number of devices is highest for Windows devices. Apple and Google Android/Chrome devices are gaining in the average number in active use. Among adults 18-39 not employed, there is no difference between Windows and Apple in the number of each OS in active use.
Apple ranks second among all life stage segments except one – 40+, Not employed with Kids. Although the difference is small, this reflects the lower penetration Apple devices have among older adults.metafacts-td161215-key-devices-by-os-2016-12-16_08-03-24

Looking Ahead

Life stage analysis reveals important market segments, especially to separate laggards from early adopters of the newest technology. This approach also helps in predicting future adoption. As technology users navigate their own life courses and transitions. Although it isn’t true that parents leave a maternity ward with additional tech devices, it’s typically not too long that tech accumulation begins.

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). 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. This TUPdate is based on the TUP Life Stage section, which is within the TUP 2016 User Profile Chapter.

Supporting MetaFAQs

  • mq0137 – What is the penetration of home-owned computing devices? – [250 DEV_KEYxLIFE]
  • mq0257 – Which Life Stage segment spends the most on tech devices and services? – [790 SPENDxLIFE]
  • mq0215 – Which Life Stage segment use VR Headsets the most? – [480 CExLIFE]
  • mq0275 – Which Life Stage segments have the highest share of Windows, Apple, and Google OS devices? – [270 DEVxLIFE]
  • mq0594 – Which Life Stage group has the highest usage of Notebook PCs? – [250 DEV_KEYxLIFE]
  • mq0610 – Which Life Stage group has the highest usage of e-Book Readers? – [250 DEV_KEYxLIFE]

Related MetaFAQs

  • mq0091 – What is the percent of Home PC users that use printers? – [250 DEV_KEYxLIFE]
  • mq0237 – What is the average number of Home Tablets being used? – [490 UNITSxLIFE]
  • mq0236 – What is the average number of Home PCs being used? – [490 UNITSxLIFE]
  • mq0150 – Are many users using remote printing services? Are these using their Internet-ready printers or online printing services? Which segments are using remote printing as a substitute for home printing, and which as an additional way to print? – [590 ACT_IMGxLIFE]
  • mq0540 – How are TV and movie device usage levels different across Life Stage segments? – [480 CExLIFE]
  • mq0213 – How does the penetration of OS Ecosystems vary by device type? – [250 DEV_KEYxDEV_ECO]

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Filed under Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, e-Book Readers, Entertainment, Notebooks, Printers, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

What is the demographic profile of Game PC Users? (MetaFAQs)

Game Desktops and Game Notebooks are coming into their own, reaching beyond the niche enthusiast.

However, they’re missing a key active game-playing segment – females. As we’ve reported in an earlier MetaFAQ, there is near gender equality for game players using Smartphones, Tablets, Game Consoles and everyday PCs.

Young males, age 25-34, are the major users for gaming desktops and gaming notebooks, using them at twice and three times the rate of the average connected adult.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0672-2016-10-23_10-49-11

Although targeting gaming enthusiasts is a successful strategy, only focusing on the formerly-strongest users misses out on a large segment of active players that could use some extra attention.

This may present a challenge to the makers of gaming PCs such as ASUS, Acer, Dell/Alienware, or HP, as they will need to make some adjustments to their marketing.

Female game players that are already active across many platforms are also big tech spenders.

Game PC companies that miss out on serving this segment might find their game over.

This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active game-players.

Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapter with the most information about game players across all devices and platforms is the TUP 2016 Game Consoles, Gaming PCs and Game-Playing 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 Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Entertainment, Game Consoles, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Notebooks, TUP 2016

Who are the Apple-only users? (MetaFAQs)

In a world dominated by Microsoft Windows PCs, it can take conscious effort to only use Apple Macs. Also, with an abundance of Google Android and Windows tablets available from many companies, it can take a special loyalty to choose an iPad and also a Mac. Furthermore, with the widest assortment of Smartphones being from anyone but Apple, it’s a further statement of preference and choice to have only Apple devices.

One in eight (13%) of adults with any connected device have in fact made these choices, and are only using Apple Smartphones, Tablets, or PCs, assiduously avoiding Windows or Google Android or Chrome OS devices.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0093-2016-10-23_12-27-02

Who are these Apple-only users? Are they only the socioeconomically elite? Well, yes and no. They do have higher incomes than the average American.

Among adults with only Apple devices, 27% have household incomes of $100,000 or more. This is and index of 137 above the national average for Connected Adults.

This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2016 survey.

This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active technology users.

Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapter with substantial information about Apple-Only users is the TUP 2016 Devices Chapter. Other TUP chapters detail iPhones, iPads, Macs, and the overall brand footprint.

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 Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Devices, Households, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Operating systems, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2016

Girls are gamers, too, although not everywhere (MetaFAQs)

There’s a rampant rumor that girls aren’t gamers. This has not been true for many years, and yet the idea seems to persist.

One reason is partly related to another stereotype which has some truth in this case: “The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys”.

By far, males are the major users for gaming desktops and gaming notebooks, using them at twice and three times the rate of females.mq0674-game-players-by-device-type-2016-10-17_16-05-57 These tricked-out, souped-up, and (sometimes) overclocked PCs are created to offer superior gaming experiences. Some are also designed to allow game enthusiasts to get under the hood and further extend the capabilities.

Females outnumber males for regular game-playing on Smartphones and Tablets, and by a wide margin. Sixty-one percent of active Smartphone gamers are female and 59% of Tablet PC gamers. This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2016 survey.

Gaming PC makers HP, ASUS, Acer and Dell/Alienware have a challenge ahead to win over the hearts and minds of female gamers. These are an important segment to attract, too. Not only are they active game players across many platforms, they also spend substantially on tech products and services of all kinds.

This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active game-players.

Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapter with the most information about game players across all devices and platforms is the TUP 2016 Game Consoles, Gaming PCs and Game-Playing 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 Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Entertainment, MetaFAQs, Notebooks, TUP 2016