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Are Smartphones really for fun, not communicating?

Are Smartphones really for fun, not communicating?

A MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, Principal Analyst

Are Smartphone subscribers more about fun than communication? Is entertainment that much stronger for Smartphone subscribers than for users of Basic Mobile Phones? Is the lack of a boss key because mobile phone users feel freer to have fun with their handsets than their PCs?

For Smartphone users, it’s not only playing games like Angry Birds that is widespread. Activities such as listening to music, watching movies, and checking sports and weather also are prevalent.

These fun activities are much more popular on Smartphones than on Basic Mobile Phones. For most key entertainment activities, more than three times the rate of Smartphone users find ways to play than the percentage of Basic Mobile Phone users.

Entertainment Activities by Mobile Phone Type-MetaFacts

Playing Games and Listening to Music are activities for more than half of Smartphone users, and for only one-fifth or less of Basic Mobile Phone users.

High-end app developers may be amazed that any Basic Mobile Phone users find ways to use their simpler phones to have any fun at all. That might be considered a glass half-full view, with the prospect that someone eager enough to struggle with the limited games and web access on most Basic Mobile Phones may be a great candidate to switch to a smartphone. The half-empty types may see this as a reality that for many consumers, good enough is good enough. They may be satisfied with simple games for casual play, and may be less prone to upgrade their platform. In either case, this highlights that app developers, handset makers and carriers need to look at the demand across multiple platforms so they don’t miss out on market opportunity or dissatisfy important customers.

Diving a little deeper into the Technology User Profile survey responses, fun is also age-linked. The game-playing rate among age 18-34 mobile phone users is 42% versus half that (21%) among those aged 35+. Although to a great extent, Smartphones have been more strongly adopted among younger than older adults, taking age into account; Smartphone users are simply more fun-oriented than users of Basic Mobile Phones.

Fun isn’t the only driver for Smartphones; communication does rate more highly for Smartphones than for Basic Mobile Phones, with usage broadly spanning phone calls, text messages, voicemail, and email for two-thirds or more of Smartphone users. For Basic Mobile Phone users, only phone calls and text messaging are used by over half of the users.

Looking ahead, bandwidth-hogs such as multi-player games and video calls are likely to drive demand for Smartphones as well as underlying wireless networks. However, as carriers seek to optimize their spectrum and profits, data caps or throttled apps may discourage the most active subscribers. Then, these users will either revert to other devices, or app makers and service providers will find ways to further optimize precious bandwidth, likely increasing supply to satisfy the demand driven by so many consumers.

Source

The results in this TUPdate are drawn from the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Survey. In our most recent wave of Technology User Profile, we surveyed American adults about their use of mobile phones, technology attitudes, and many other behavioral and socioeconomic factors. Current TUP subscribers can access and drill down more deeply into this phenomenon using TUP Interactive Access or with their datasets.

We started this analysis by first looking at the answers from 8,175 U.S. respondents in the Technology User Profile service and then drilled down further into their profiles to get a more complete picture.

Contact MetaFacts to access the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Overview Edition report, which covers the broader range of key trends. View findings in 25 pages of executive summary analysis, 200+ pages of charts and graphs, all supported by 95+ pages of detailed tables. The complete, 300+ page report is delivered to you electronically.

These editions are for the U.S. based on the 2010 wave of Technology User Profile gathered among a scrupulously selected set of representative respondents, surveyed both online and offline.

To see other research coverage of Internet products and activities  – from smartphones to feature phones, desktops to notebooks, social networking, demographics, and attitudes – see the many other questions TUP answers on www.technologyuser.com. Tech market research professionals who want a solid resource they can use immediately after industry events such as mergers, or even use prior to anticipated events, can license direct access to TUP.

About TUPdates

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Smartphones, Netbooks, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry trends and facts. 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 helps technology marketers find and measure their best and future customers. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile (TUP) 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 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. TUP analyzes key trends and the data-rich source can be dived into more deeply for custom analysis. For more information about the syndicated research service, analysis tools, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

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Filed under Market Research, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Technology, Technology User Overview Report, TUP 2010, TUPdate

Mobile Computer Users are Now in the Majority

Press Release – September 2008

Mobile Computer Users are Now in the Majority, according to MetaFacts Busy Mobiles Profile Report

The largest segment of busy mobiles are personally owned and desk-bound, overshadowing highly mobile corporate road warriors

Mobile PCs have moved into the majority, with 53% of computer-using adults using either a notebook or tablet PC, according to the Busy Mobiles Report from MetaFacts, Inc.

Busy Mobiles Profile Report

Busy Mobiles Profile Report

“Mobile PC users are very busy” said Dan Ness, Principal Analyst at MetaFacts. “Nearly 13 million adults use a notebook or tablet PC 40 or more hours per week, and 60% of these active users regularly use three or more PCs, moving between home, work, and publicly-owned PCs.”

The large-scale nationwide survey found that 44% of the mobile PCs used 40 or more hours per week are owned by households, 31% are owned by businesses with 1,000 or more employees, and 25% by small & medium businesses, education, and government. 

The survey also revealed that the busiest mobile PC users are very different than the least-busy mobile users, being uniquely tied to their PCs with instant messaging, streaming music, and maintaining their calendars. “The busiest mobile PC users rely on high-speed internet connections for a very wide range of PC activities, from day-to-day work to having fun,” said Ness.

The busiest mobile PCs are not as mobile as might be expected – 43% are used in only one location, 13% are used in two locations, and 44% are used in three or more locations.

“Mobile computing is a sport for the young,” said Dan Ness, Principal Analyst at MetaFacts. “Nearly one-third (31%) of the busiest mobile users are males age 18 to 34, almost a quarter (23%) are females age 18 to 34, and one-sixth (16%) are males age 35 to 44.”

Other findings in the Busy Mobiles Profile Report include:

  • Dell is strongest among busy mobiles and for Apple, it’s a strong segment
  • More than three-fourths (76%) of the busiest mobile PC users spend more time with their PC(s) than watching TV
  • Seven of 22 occupational groups use over half of the busiest mobile PCs
  • Busy Mobile PC Households are above average in their use of consumer electronics, and have above-average buying plans for additional High-Definition TVs (HDTV), digital video recorders, and even Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes for older TVs

The Busy Mobiles Profile Report is based on surveys with over 10,000 American adults by telephone and online as part of the Technology User Profile 2008 Annual Edition study.

The Busy Mobiles Profile Report is available for immediate purchase through the online store at the MetaFacts website – MetaFacts.com

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2008

Fad, Niche, or Next Big Thing?

The technology industry has a perennial sport called “The Next Big Thing.” It involves spotting, creating, and being part of the newest technological advance that will change people’s lives. Even though advances seem to arrive overnight, in truth most true innovations take years to reach broad market acceptance.
Why is this important?
Timing is everything. The critical turning point for most technology products or services are when they reach that first 5% to 10% of the potential market. Depending on how they fare among these early adopters, they may either be doomed as fads, may limply hang on, or might break away into widespread use.
Even languishing niche products and services may hold promise for the future, and therefore can garner renewed investment and media attention. One recent example is the ability to make phone calls over the Internet through VoIP/Voice over Internet Protocol. Even though less than 5% of U.S. Home PCs have this as a regular activity, eBay recently committed billions to this market.  [See our TUPdate of December 1, 2005 – “VoIP: Still Calling, But Not an Answer Yet”]
Several other activities are in that same small-market zone and are worthy of note.
Most of the activities that have captured the regular attention of between 5% and 10% of home PCs involve active use. Their nature is markedly different from passive couch-potato-style TV viewing. Although dynamic activities can deliver the stickiness of frequent use so desired by marketers, the demands of regular interaction may discourage use by the broader mass of otherwise passive consumers. Writing a blog takes more ongoing and concerted effort than tuning into a primetime TV program. Indeed, there are nearly twice as many blog contributors than blog initiators.
Sites that help people meet other people are also used by this small group. The many dating services sites from Match.com to eHarmony.com have captured nearly one in fifteen home PCs. Although social networking was expected to skyrocket in the late 90’s, this activity has managed to reach a rather small, focused contingent of social and tech-savvy users.

Home PC Activities Among Small Market Segments

Activities for Which Home PC is Regularly Used (between 5% and 10% of total)

% of U.S. Home PCs

Post a comment on someone else’s blog/online journal

9.2%

Use an online dating service (e.g. Match.com)

7.4%

Create web pages (web publishing)

6.6%

Use a community/social networking group (e.g. Friendster, LinkedIn, Ryze)

5.7%

Write your own blog/online journal (e.g. MySpace, blogspot)

5.3%

Make voice telephone calls/voice chats over the Internet (VoIP)

4.5%

Source: MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2005 Annual Edition

Part of the sport of identifying technology trends involves carefully understanding core behavior. Even though technology itself may be disruptive and evolve quickly, consumer habits do not change quite so quickly. Consumers will gladly shift from one technology to another, causing seemingly fickle behavior to companies invested too deeply in a narrow technology and without their eyes on their customer’s broader activities and choices.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Trends, TUP 2005, TUPdate