PC and Tablet Choosers Outspend Phone Choosers [TUPdate]

Those who choose a PC or Tablet for what they do spend more than those who primarily choose a mobile phone. Choosing a phone to communicate is widespread and these users spend the least each year on household technology devices and services. Those primarily choosing a tablet for their cloud storage or productivity activities are few in number and spend the most each year on technology.

This is based on results from the latest MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 study, it’s 36th continuous wave. This analysis is focused on 7,886 U.S. survey respondents.

The majority of online adults in the U.S. regularly use more than one device, and they’re increasingly choosing between their various devices for each of the activities they’d like to get done. As they experiment with their activities across different devices, they begin to develop preferences for one device type or another. For example, they may do some shopping on a smartphone as well as a tablet or PC, and then use a PC for the majority of their shopping activities. Similarly, they may communicate by text, email, voice or video calls across their devices, and then choose to use a smartphone for most of their communication activities.

Communication activities especially favor mobile, highly-connected devices, to better let users enjoy quickly response or simultaneous communication. This is shown in the 129.8 million U.S. adults who primarily use a phone to communicate. There are 55.2 million U.S. adults who primarily use a PC to communicate, as they primarily use email or sit at their desktop or notebook for video conference calls.

We compared these activity-device groups against annual household technology spending. This spending spans devices and services, from purchases of smartphones, PCs, printer and tablets, to internet and TV services, installation, and media. The biggest technology spenders choose tablets over PCs or phones for nearly every category of activity. This reflects in part that tablets are often a user’s third device, and that the biggest spenders have more devices than average.

Looking ahead

The growing use of cloud storage coupled with broadened wireless Internet access has helped users to become less dependent on a single device or location. Apps to support user’s favorite activities are still not universally available across device types and operating systems, and this continues to reduce the ease with which users can move between the mix of devices they have access to. As app developers continue to design multi-platform apps that truly span device types and environments, this will help users expand their collection of actively used devices.

We expect users to continue to use various and multiple devices, and increase their ease at switching between them. The world ahead looks good for jugglers.

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. From the installed base we focused in on online adults and how they use a Smartphone, PC, or Tablet through a broad collection of activities. Through analysis of these results we identified which type of devices they used primarily for these activities.

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.

Getting Things Done – The Primary Device from PCs to Smartphones [TUPdate]

Getting things done. Isn’t it one of the main explanations we offer when we’re buying our tech devices?

While much of actual tech device usage is about entertainment, communication, and shopping, productivity has its solid place in everyday use.

Whether using a PC, Smartphone, Tablet, or some combination, the majority of connected adults turn to their devices for everything from scheduling appointments to calling on a voice assistant. Based on our Technology User Profile 2017 US survey wave, 88% of Connected Adults regularly use one of their connected devices for any of a range of productivity activities.

Mobility is the Key to Productivity Activities

Having one’s device handy is key for the productivity-oriented. The majority of productivity activities are regularly done using a mobile device – a Notebook, Tablet, or Mobile Phone. This focus on mobility has remained relatively constant over the last few years, representing over two-thirds of the primary productivity devices.

PCs as Dominant Device Type for Productivity

Americans use a PC of some kind for most of their productivity activities. This majority position has withered over the last two years, declining slightly from 54% and 55% of adults to the 51% mark in 2017.
During that same time period, more adults have made the switch from Basic cell phones to Smartphones. This has helped Mobile Phones to increase their share as the favored productivity device, rising to second-place with 41% of adults.

Smartphone surpass Desktops as preference for productivity

Diving more deeply into the TUP data, and looking at connected devices in a more detailed view, Smartphones emerge as the major productivity device. Even looking at Desktops versus Smartphones by combining Tower Desktops with All-in-One Desktops, the year 2017 marks the first time that Smartphones outnumber Desktops as the preferred Productivity device. In 2016, TUP showed that 37% of the primary productivity devices are Desktops to 34% for Smartphones. In 2017, this shifted to 33% Desktops and 39% Smartphones.
Voice Assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, are one of the major productivity activities which have grown in usage, especially on Smartphones. For those users who primarily use a Smartphone for most of their productivity, 57% use a Voice Assistant at least monthly, a level which is 44% higher than the national average. They’re also 30% or more higher than average to be using their Smartphone to manage tasks/to-do items, their personal or work calendar, store their contacts, and to save and play voice memos.
Notebooks, on the other hand, are making a gradual retreat as the productivity device of choice. These still stand out, however, for being above average for certain activities among those who favor their notebooks for productivity. Several productivity activities which are done on notebooks at 25% or more above average: collaborating on work or personal files, finances/accounting, write/manage text/notes/documents, download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and ad blocking software. Yes, the productivity-oriented are more likely than average to block ads and get back to work.
For productivity-primary desktop PCs, however, only two productivity activities stand out above average in their regular use: download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and ad blocking software. Although these two activities do reduce interruptions, they aren’t particularly productive. This indicates that Desktops are likely to continue their slide from primacy for productivity. They’ll either be consigned to other types of activities, or be overtaken by notebooks or tablets.

Looking ahead

Although habits change slowly, they do change. Even as users move between multiple devices, it takes time for them to migrate their behaviors from one way of doing things to another. Apps that have versions that support platforms can ease the user’s migration between devices. By simultaneously supporting multiple platforms, app makes can also make it easier for users to get things done among their own collection of devices, further supporting user’s own choices.

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 2015 through 2017, its 35th consecutive wave. Comparable results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Resources

Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.

What are the primary devices used for each category of activity? (MetaFAQs)

Smartphones are now the dominant device, although only slightly. In active use by 65% of Connected Adults, Tower Desktop PCs have effectively equal penetration at 64%. Notebook PCs aren’t far behind at 53%.

Interestingly, Smartphones are only the primary device for one type of activity – Communication. Even though Communication activities of one kind or another are being use by effectively all (99%) Connected Adults, it’s the only category of activities for which the Smartphone is the preferred device. For nearly every other type of activity, Tower Desktop PCs are the preferred device.

Among adults that use any Connected Device for Communication activities, 31% prefer to use a Smartphone, 12% prefer to use a Tower Desktop PC, and 6% prefer to use a Notebook PC. Communication activities includes voice calls, video calls, emails, chats and other forms.

Activities by Device - from Technology User Profile
Activities by Device – from Technology User Profile

Source

These results are based on the most recent wave of Technology User Profile, the TUP 2014 edition. More can be found in the Activities chapter. The large-scale survey is in its 32nd continuous year, documenting and detailing the full scope of technology adoption and use.
For this MetaFAQs analysis, MetaFacts is sharing a portion of the answers to selected survey questions: specifically the Connected Devices in active use, and the types of activities each one is used for. The full TUP service includes further related details on the types and brands of devices, profiles of those who use Smartphones more than PCs and vice versa, detailed activities within each category and mapped to each device, and much more. The TUP survey gathers comprehensive details about the active usage of many consumer electronics products, including Printers, PC, Smartphones, Basic cell phones, and many other connected devices.

In addition to tracking activities, Technology User Profile details the many devices which online adults use to regularly connect to the Internet. The survey-based research details what people do with their devices, where they spend their technology dollars, and how often they update (or don’t update) their technology products.

Technology companies who want to know more about technology adoption, wireless technology, or about their current or future customers can contact MetaFacts to learn how to subscribe to the rich resources of Technology User Profile.

MetaFAQs – Frequently Asked Questions with answers supported by the facts: the MetaFacts.