Since the COVID-19 pandemic, home printers have been increasingly used for work. This growth is primarily among American adults that are neither the youngest or the oldest.
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How prevalent is printing from PCs, Smartphones, and Tablets?
One key measure of the breadth of printing is simply the per capita use.
Based on our most recent wave of TUP surveys, Connected Adults in the U.S. actively use 1.5 printers on average. Furthermore, 37% regularly use 2 or more printers.
As detailed in other results from TUP, printer usage has shifted in recent years with the growing use of mobile devices. With the continued improvements in camera technology and growing collection of connected devices in active use, there has been continued expansion in the number of images and documents. At the same time, as users have shifted more of their sharing online and in-person, this has had a dampening effect on printing. Taken together, these and other similar changes in user demand have continued to changed the marketplace.
This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active printer users.
Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapter with the most information about Printers and Printing Activities is the TUP 2016 Printers Chapter.
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There’s a broad misconception that younger adults aren’t printing as much as the pioneers who’ve gone before them. That could be a negative sign for the future of major printer manufacturers from HP and Epson to Brother, Lexmark, Dell and Canon.
Do millennials use more or fewer printers than others?
Our research shows that millennial adults (age 28-35) use more printers than the average connected adult.
On average, they regularly use 1.8 printers, the most used by any age group. Furthermore, just over half (51%) use 2 or more printers.
This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2016 survey.
As we’ve reported in other TUP findings, millennials are resourceful in using many devices at home, their workplaces, and also owned by others.
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 chapters with the most information about activities is the TUP 2016 Printers 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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More images — less paper – a MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, October 14, 2016
I love photos of kittens. And puppies. And rainbows. And yes, I’m enjoy seeing photos of your desserts, grandkids and glorious travels. Okay, now I’ve said it out loud.
Evidently, I’m similar to nearly half of every other American adult when it comes to admiring beautiful, fun, and engaging photos. I admit this even as I assiduously avoid counting myself as being representative of any entire market. As a long-time researcher, I choose to share my findings and opinions about tech customer demand and market dynamics based on the voices of thousands of survey respondents.
There’s something connecting and real about sharing photos. More than half (56%) of adults with a connected device share photos online and almost half (47%) share in person. Images tell a story, share feelings and experiences, and connect us. The use of digital images has grown explosively to be central to the everyday connected life.
Those images aren’t coming from traditional cameras, though. For the majority that seeks convenience, having one device do something passably well is better than carrying many specialized gadgets. Purists can argue about superior photo quality taken with a camera intended to be a real camera. That misses the point for most of the market. Having any camera handy at that special moment is better than having the perfect camera after it’s over.
Smartphones have been fueling much of the photo explosion, being the choice for over two-thirds (69%) of connected adults. Tablets haven’t contributed as much to the photo stream – with only one-sixth (17%) of adults regularly using one to take photos. In many circles, bringing out a tablet to take photos is considered a bit invasive, impolite or a little too geeky. This sort of social friction is par for the course among early adopters.
Despite the expanding breadth of photo-taking, overall printer penetration isn’t growing. The number of printers in active use hasn’t budged materially in years. Our MetaFacts TUP 2013 survey found that 12% of connected adults didn’t use a printer. As of TUP 2016, 13% still don’t actively use a printer. You might think that statistic would shift among the busiest printer users. However, that’s been stable, too. Adults printing 50 or more pages per month were 29% of connected adults in 2011 and are near to the same size five years later, representing 27% in 2016.
To profile the most-attractive printer users, I explored three dimensions with a deeper dive into the TUP datasets.
High-Volume: The busiest users – those who print the most pages
Most-Graphical: The strongest relevant demand – the most-graphical users as evidenced by being in the top third of users in the number of graphics and image-oriented activities they regularly do with their collection of connected devices
Mobile Printing: Those who print on the go, using their mobile device to wirelessly print
The heaviest printers are breathing rarified air. Users who printer 50 or more pages per month are in the top 22% of Inkjet Printer users and top 33% of Laser Printer users.
These high-volume printers skew towards users with larger, higher-income households with children. Age 25-44 are strongest, as are Employed and Self-Employed. They are more likely than average to be regularly using 2 or more printers.
Among the most-graphical users, printer penetration is higher than among average connected adults. The most-graphical are 50% more likely than average to be using a 2nd printer, and 86% more likely to be using a 3rd printer. Also, more than a third (36%) of these most-graphical print 50+ pages each month.
Also, printing photos is much more common among the most-graphical than the average user. Among these most-graphical, printing photos is the second-ranked printing activity, done occasionally by 44% of these users, well above the 33% of average users doing so. The most-graphical also have a higher penetration of printer use – 94%.
These most-graphical include a higher than average share of Millennials, making up 56% of their numbers. They are also more likely to have children, with 58% doing so.
Mobile printing has been possible for some time, although actual adoption has been relatively slow. Less than a third (31%) of those with tablets print wirelessly to a nearby printer, 17% to a remote printer using email, and 15% using an online service. Smartphone printing is lower, with one-sixth (17%) of Smartphone users printing wirelessly to a nearby printer, 11% to a remote printer using email, and 10% using an online service.
Looking ahead, we expect the major printer manufacturers to continue to focus on one, if not all, of these market segments. The convenience-oriented will be served by automated ink replacement, such as HP’s Instant Ink subscription service. Currently, less than a third (29%) of the highest-volume printer use this type of service.
Our research supports photo-taking activities continuing strongly and broadly into the future. Smartphone cameras will only get better and users will continue to be increasingly comfortable with selfies, scans, and group photos. However, this increase in demand won’t necessarily increase printing levels, at least among the overall market. I expect consumer’s need to share photos which are first printed to continue their decline, with continued innovation in social networking. Also, as a broader range of users get comfortable using their devices, more users will join the mass shift towards sharing photos on screens instead of paper. The need for archival printing of precious documents such as heirloom photos will be reduced with the further adoption of cloud file storage. In addition, the TUP research supports continued growth in the number of users finding other ways to share photos in person, with broader adoption of the connections between Smartphone and larger screens from tablets to TVs.
Yes, you too can expect to see more kittens, rainbows, food porn, and cute grandkids. We might as well get our popcorn ready!
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). Trend information is based on prior waves. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.
Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.
The age-old tradition of the family gathering around the home PC printer during the holidays to create unique greeting cards appears to be slipping-the practice has been in decline for the last three years. However, families with young children appear to be clinging to the tradition more tightly than others. Meanwhile, the percentage of hard-core card senders-those households for whom card-creation is the main reason for having a PC printer-has remained about the same.
These and other insights about the convergence of home PCs, printers, and greeting cards were derived from 10,418 households who responded to questionnaires submitted by MetaFacts, Inc. concerning uses of their home PC printers. The results showed that in 2004 about a third of American households (32.6 percent) used their home computer to make greeting cards, down from 35.5 percent in 2003 and 39.2 percent in 2002. Perhaps the practice of making unique cards is now so time-tested that the results don’t seem as novel any more.
Why is this important?
Self-made greeting cards reflect a creative, personal and high-involvement action on the part of the computer user. Even with the gentle and sometimes thorough assistance of some software and sites to design the card and compose the sentiment, it still involves communication with friends, family and other intimates. It forms a personal expression and statement. Therefore, it’s a key indicator of how deeply involved home computers and printers are in the American lifestyle.
The presence of small children in the home appears to make it significantly more likely that the family will devote more time to greeting card creation. For instance, 15.1 percent of households surveyed in 2004 said that greeting card creation was the main use of their printer, but that figure rose to 20.6 percent for households with PC users aged three to 12. (Yet, having teen-aged users didn’t help, since the average for households with PCs users aged 13 to 19 was 14.9 percent-about average, in other words.)
Households with income less than $50,000 were also more likely to make their own cards, with 17.3 percent listing it as the main use of their printers. Either they like to save money, or have practices favoring personal creativity over buying ready-made solutions.
Meanwhile, the percentage of hardcore card-makers has barely declined, even if the practice has slipped significantly among the general population. As stated above, 15.1 percent of households in 2004 listed card creation as the primary use for their printers. That’s only a slight decrease from 15.9 percent in 2003 and 16.8 percent in 2002. This probably means we won’t see a specialized greeting-card printer in the near future, as the market may be too small to justify it.
On the other hand, card-making has remained the second most common activity for which special paper is used-understandably, since the paper is an important factor in making a card unique. It also helps to have the paper pre-scored for easy and professional-looking folding. In 2004, 40.9 percent of PC-owning households report that card-creation was an activity that they used special paper for, second to photo printing (68.1 percent). Letter writing was a distant third, at 18.4 percent. Here, too, prevalence has fallen during the last three years, since the rate of using special paper to create cards was 42.4 percent in 2003 and 46.7 percent in 2002. (However, it remained in second place during those years, between photo printer and letter writing.)
Here, too, the presence of small children among the users meant a higher rate of usage. While 40.9 percent of the general PC user population reported using special paper for cards, the rate rose to 47.2 percent for those with users aged three to 12 in the house. But in this case the highest rate was among those households with teenaged users, rising to 49.6 percent. Evidently, teenagers value uniqueness-and they do so consistently. The rate was 48.7 percent in 2003 and 49.8 percent in 2002.
In case you were wondering, the demographic least likely to create their own cards were the single adults. Only 10 percent of single-adults households said that card-making was the most common use of their printer in 2004. Here, too, the trend was downward, from 11.8 percent in 2003 and 13.8 percent in 2002.
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