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.

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.