Tag Archives: Skype

Hold the phone – PCs rebound for communication among one segment (MetaFAQs)

Which segment uses which device for their primary communication device more than a Smartphone or Basic cell phone?metafacts-metafaqs-mq0065-mobile-phone-primacy-for-communication-by-segment-2016-11-08_09-34-11

None do, although one segment shows a counter trend. Mobile phones – especially Smartphones – are the primary communications devices for all age/employment segments. This has been a growing trend for the last several years, and 2014 marked the last year the PC was king for communications among any segment. In 2015, the last group to focus on mobile phones for their spoken, visual, and written communications activities was the segment of adults age 50 and above and who are not employed.

However, one segment has made a reversal of that phone-only trend. Employed adults age 18-39 have started to increase their use of PCs as their primary communications device. While mobile phones still lead, this shift may be surprising to some.

Looking more deeply into what this segment is doing by drilling down into the TUP activities data by device type, two activities stand out. Young employed adults are increasingly making web-based group meetings and video calls. From Slack to Skype and for work and personal matters, this segment is using these activities at nearly twice the national rate.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0065-primary-communiction-device-for-employed-younger-2016-11-08_09-34-11

To be clear, the PC has not returned to primacy for communication among younger employed adults. However, collaboration has sparked some renewed life in the old workhorse.

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 communication activities is the TUP 2016 Activities 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 Communication, Convertibles, Desktops, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Smartphones, Trends, TUP 2016

WhatsApp Brazilian Dance Step

Today a Brazilian judge ordered another stop to WhatsApp on Brazil’s smartphones, at least temporarily. (Source: Reuters May 2, 2016)
Creative Commons Courtesy Ed Yourdon
WhatsApp is a very popular communications app around the world, and especially strong in Brazil. According to the most recent wave of our Technology User Profile survey, 82% of Brazil’s connected adults have used WhatsApp in the prior 30 days.

While this means 70.4 million adults are affected, Brazil’s active WhatsApp users have other options. Among the other sites and apps which are actively used for communication and networking, 68% use InstaGram and nearly six in ten (58%) already actively use Skype. Another quarter (26%) use SnapChat and one-in-six (16%) use Viber.
Brazilian WhatsApp users are already in a good position to use other options. Only 1% of WhatsApp users are only using WhatsApp and not using Instagram, Skype, G+, SnapChat, or Viber.
whatsapp metafacts 2016-05-02_16-41-59

Furthermore, while 81% of WhatsApp users use a Smartphone, not all do. WhatsApp is also accessible on PCs. Among the many devices Brazilian WhatsApp adults regularly use, 98% access a PC, and many use more than one. Eight-one percent use 2 or more PCs. Just under half (47%) have a Tablet PC, with Android tablets outnumbering Apple’s iPads or Tablets running Windows.

With WhatsApp’s broad popularity, it’s not as if any particular Smartphone carrier is being singled out. Each carrier’s share among WhatsApp’s customer base is nearly identical to the total base, with TIM having twice the share of any other carrier, Claro (Embratel, NET Serviços) in second place, then followed by Oi SA (Telemar Norte Leste, Brasil Telecom) and Telefônica.

It’s also not as if these Brazilians will have their communication stymied. Ninety percent of WhatsApp users regularly send/receive personal email, 85% text message, 83% make/receive personal phone calls, and 49% participate in a personal web-based group meeting.

Looking ahead
Although legal events like these can cause big disruptions, tech users are resilient, especially Brazilians. Other communication-rich apps and sites such as Skype, G+, SnapChat and Viber will continue to increase their efforts to claim any bewildered or befuddled WhatsApp users. Meanwhile, Brazilian tech users will continue to juggle their many devices as well as the many ways that they already communicate.

Source
This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary from the Technology User Profile survey of adults throughout the US, UK, France, Brazil, and China. The results are based on a multi-country survey of over 10,000 representative respondents conducted by MetaFacts. Current TUP subscribers can obtain additional analysis and supporting datasets at a substantial discount. To license the full market research results, contact MetaFacts.

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Filed under Behaviors and Activities, Communication, Desktops, Market Research, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Smartphones, Social Networking, TUP 2015

Coming Face to Face With Newer Technology-Call The Kids

Can You Hear Me Now? (c) MetaFacts

Can You Hear Me Now? (c) MetaFacts

There’s a cartoon making the rounds online about a FaceTiming family. While Mom and the teens can clearly see each other’s faces, Dad doesn’t seem to get it that holding the phone to his ear isn’t the best way to communicate using FaceTime or video calling.
Those of us who are facile with technology products – let’s not be hard on any new users. After all, activities like communication work best when everyone is involved.
Newer technology can be daunting, even those who are well-experienced with one type of technology may be new to another. Age alone does not define who is the most experienced or tech-savvy.
Presence of children is a contributing factor with technology adoption. Based on results from the most-recent wave of Technology User Profile, adults in households with children are more interested in wearable technology. Over half (52%) of adults in households with children agree or strongly agree with the statement “I would love to be the first to use wearable technology.” Adults in households without children aren’t as enthusiastic, with only one-third (33%) similarly agreeing.
Making video calls with services as Microsoft Skype, Apple FaceTime, ooVoo, Tango, Google Hangouts, or the like is done more often among households with kids present. Just over one third (34%) of all Connected Adults who use their devices to communicate make video calls. Among younger (18-39) employed adults with children in their household, well over half (57%) make video calls. Among older (40+) adults who aren’t employed without children present, the number is one-sixth (16%).
Even in one narrow type of activity – communications – there are a wealth of options. From social networking to email and voice or video calls, technology users have choices.(c) MetaFacts
The top-third of the most broadly communicative among us use their Connected Devices for 7 or more types of communication activities – from email to voice calls, text messaging to video calls.
One of the biggest factors separating the most-active communicators from others is the presence of children, along with age and employment status.
Among adults age 40 and up, employed and with children in the household, 39% are in this most-active communicator group. By comparison, only one-fourth (25%) of those without children in the household are as active. The difference is even more striking among the 40+ who are not employed outside the home: One-third (33%) of those with children in the household are the most-active, versus only 13% of those without children.
Video calls and apps like FaceTime are just one mode of communications in active use. Not everyone uses the same mode of communication. While some of us favor email, others prefer text messaging.
For adults with children in the household, several communication activities are used more often than for similar adults without children.(c) metafacts
Writing a blog or online journal is an activity for many more adults in households with children than among those without, at 24% and 14% of Connected Adults, respectively. For making video calls, the gap is slightly narrower at 9% – the difference between 47% of adults with kids and 28% of those without.
In households with any children age 5 and younger, adults use the broadest range of communication activities across their Connected Devices. Just over half (51%) use 7 or more types of communication activities, well above the one-third of Connected Adults this usage level represents.
It was a prescient Groucho Marx who once quipped: “A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”
Fortunately, over 63 million adults have children in their households. Whether or not those younger pioneers will be kind and show their elders how to use their devices to communicate remains to be seen. Whether anyone will ever develop an inter-generational translator, so that parents and teens can finally understand each other, is something perhaps too daunting for even the technology industry.

Source

These results are based on the most recent wave of Technology User Profile, the TUP 2014 edition. The large-scale survey is in its 32nd continuous year, documenting and detailing the full scope of technology adoption and use. In addition to detailing the many devices adults use to connect and sizing targeted market segments, the survey-based research details what people do with their devices. It reports which activities adults primarily use with which device. For example, TUP reports which market segments use their Smartphones or Desktops as their primary communication device, as well as which devices are primarily for entertainment, shopping, social networking, and other types of activities.

Further results and datasets are available to TUP subscribers, including the full details on these technology users: which devices they intend to buy, which other devices they already actively use, the activities they’re doing and which device they do them with, their complete demographic profile, tech spending, wearable technology, and more.
Technology companies who want to know more about adults with or without children, video callers users, or about their current or future customers can contact MetaFacts to learn how to subscribe to the rich resources of Technology User Profile.

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Filed under Households, Market Research, TUP 2014, TUPdate, Video calling

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

VoIP: Still Calling, but not an answer yet

I’m old enough to remember when a long-distance call was a special event. Our family would drop everything to crowd around the phone. We’d take their turns, trying to speak quickly so as to not run up an enormous bill. Even while we were paying an exorbitant amount by today’s standards, the quality was often crackly and faint.

I’ve also seen many voice and data integration startups come and go over the last 25 years. From a technologist’s perspective, voice bits aren’t all that different than data bits, so there’s an appeal for a single digital pipe. However, technology promises don’t always drive consumer behavior. Today in the U.S., the promise of VoIP (Voice over IP) has created more static than clear communications.

Why is this important?

As companies like eBay pour billions into this still-embryonic “killer app” through their acquisition of Skype, other companies are likely to also bring their attention and resources to bear. If accepted by consumers and businesses, VoIP promises to upset a lot of apple carts. At the end of the day, the most important thing to watch is customer behavior: if the American public won’t use the technology, then the fastest bandwidth fanciest headphones won’t amount to much.

U.S. Households haven’t been flocking to use VoIP. Today, nearly 1 in 20 home PCs (4.5%) make voice calls over the Internet. That’s even down from last year, where this number stood at 7.8% of home PCs. These figures are based upon surveys taken from 8,203 computer users as part of the Technology User Profile 2005 Annual Edition, and 7,527 respondents in the 2004 Annual Edition.

Use among the self-employed is higher, at 7.2% of self-employed PCs. At least there is growth for VoIP among the self-employed, as this rate stood at 5.5% of self-employed PCs last year. These are still relatively small numbers, and largely unchanged over the past three years.

There are numerous factors that explain why VoIP has yet to take off in the U.S.

Frankly, speaking over a crackly connection can be painful and annoying, even when free, and dial-up connections just don’t give enough speed for high quality. The highest-bandwidth connections were at first being adopted by people who aren’t as price-sensitive – the wealthiest. In 2004, 46.3% of households with home PCs and $50,000 or more household income had DSL or Cable Internet connections, compared with 28.7% of lower-income households. In 2005, this gap has narrowed but still persists, with 68.7% of high-income home PC households having either DSL or cable access, compared with 54.8% of lower-income households.

At the same time, competition among cellular carriers drove prices down. Furthermore, a growing number of consumers pulled the plug on their home phone lines. So, Americans learned to enjoy having easy, mobile, low-price access to long distance. Furthermore, cell phone penetration grew faster among lower-income households and worked its way into American’s daily lives.

Fundamentally, Americans like the convenience of having a clear phone line accessible wherever they may be. It trumps needing to make phone calls while tethered to a computer workstation and headset. 

Although it’s true that American consumers like free or low-cost services, they continue to pay premiums for convenience.

Yet another factor to dampen enthusiasm for VoIP is the prevalence of email and consumer’s preferences for email over the telephone. Among 7,599 home-PC households we surveyed as part of Technology User Profile, less than one in seven (14.1%) agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I Would Rather Use a Telephone than Use Email,” ranking it a 6 or 7 on a 7-point agreement scale. Nearly double that rate, 27.8%, disagreed or strongly disagreed, ranking it a 1 or 2.

What does this portend for the future of VoIP in the U.S.? Most likely, VoIP as a separate service will continue to be a niche offering. It will be most popular among the price-sensitive, the tech-savvy, and the self-employed. It will also likely do well outside of the U.S., where long-distance charges can be so much relatively higher. As a bundled service along with cable, satellite, or ISP services, it is likely to increase in adoption, further challenging the landline phone companies.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Market Segmentation, Mobile Phones, TUP 2005, TUPdate