Smartwatch and fitness band penetration tapers to 2016 levels
The race for the wrist has settled into a larger-than-niche and less-than-majority position. Over the last three years, the share of online Americans using at least one smartwatch has grown from one in six to one in five, only to settle back to the one in six level. This is based on TUP/Technology User Profile 2019 survey of 8,060 online adults in the US, and from the prior three annual waves.
Worse yet for both fitness bands and smartwatches – it’s not as if each are cannibalizing the other. Use of either type of device is also down, dropping from a high of 33% in 2016 to 27% in 2019.
The market has tapered even while smartwatch makers continue to add capabilities well beyond timekeeping and step-counting. Also, it’s happening even as watch-wearers begin to actively use the new capabilities – broadening their use of smartwatches to more activities. Some of the top smartwatch activities include seeing who’s calling before taking a call through or on their smartwatch, recording their heart rates, checking current weather, or using their smartwatch in a store to check products or prices. Convenience is at hand.
Younger adults embrace wearables more than older Americans
Younger Americans have adopted Smart watches and other wearables more strongly than older Americans. Just over half of online Americans age 18 to 34 use at least one Bluetooth headset, smartwatch, or fitness band. In stark contrast, just less than one in five (19%) online Americans age 65 or higher use any of these wearables. Among this set, fitness bands have the highest penetration, on the wrists of one in nine (11%).
Hearables are an important category to track. In addition to sales by watchmakers, beneficiaries include digital media services (specifically music), cellular carriers, and the full ecosystem of e-wallet payments and retailers. Continue reading →
Do customers act on ecosystems, choosing to focus within a brand’s family for their products and services? How many technology users are exclusive, or at least favor one over another?
Only one in eight (12%) of online adults around the world are truly exclusive, using products and services from only one of either Apple, Google, or Microsoft. This is based on the most recent wave of the MetaFacts TUP survey (Technology User Profile 2018), conducted among 14,273 online adults.
Nearly twice as many actively use a balanced mixture of ecosystems. True non-exclusivity is being actively practiced by one-fourth (25%) of online adults. (see the Methodology below for details on the segmentation approach used in this analysis.)
The largest group of users is between exclusivity and non-exclusivity, slightly favoring one ecosystem while still actively using at least one other. Over six in ten (62%) of online adults are in these segments. The Google-Dominant segment is on par with the Apple-Dominant segment, each representing one in five online adults.
Apple’s most-focused are more broadly invested in Apple’s ecosystem than are Google’s or Microsoft’s best. Most of Apple’s strength is supported by their connected devices – iPhones, iPads, and Macs to a lesser extent. The Apple-Exclusive (3% of online adults) use an average of 2.3 connected devices, and among the Apple-Dominant, this average is 2.1 devices. Use of voice assistant Apple Siri is the second-most component among the Apple-Exclusive, and also tied for second place among the Apple-Dominant. The Apple-Dominant are equally active with Microsoft devices, primarily Windows PCs.
The Google-Exclusive (3% of online adults) only use 1.4 Google devices on average, primarily an Android smartphone. Android tablets and Chromebooks aren’t as widely used among the Google-Exclusive as are Apple’s devices among the Apple-Exclusive.
The Microsoft-Exclusive (6% of online adults) show a pattern of entrenchment. Only Microsoft devices are in use besides some nominal use of Microsoft Cortana or Xbox consoles. The Microsoft-Dominant are a bit more exploratory, including a small number of Google devices and some use of Microsoft Cortana.
Profile of the Ecosystem Exclusivity Segments
Each ecosystem has appealed to very different groups of people, especially with respect to life stage. While Apple’s most-exclusive users have a higher share (44%) of younger adults with children, nearly half (48%) of Google’s most-exclusive users are not employed outside the home and don’t have children. This bodes well for Apple’s services and devices that bring extra value to families, such as Apple’s Family Sharing feature, which enables a way to share music, books, cloud storage and other Apple services between multiple users.
The Microsoft-Exclusive segment is singular, with nearly a third (32%) of its members being in a one-person household. The Apple and Google segments are relatively similar to each other, although Google’s have slightly more household members.
It’s increasingly a multi-device, multi-person world. Sharing between one’s devices and platforms will continue to grow as a user need, as will sharing with others between disparate ecosystems. Although companies may aim for exclusivity, interoperability is more important. It involves the largest part of the market. Exclusive users will remain a small group of loyal fans willing and able to narrow their choices. Although the non-exclusive make up a sizable segment, the future will be with the ecosystem-dominant.
For this analysis, we defined ecosystem exclusivity, dominance, and non-exclusivity as follows:
Exclusivity – all of the user’s connected devices, items, services, and voice assistants are in the same operating system family
Dominant – more of the user’s devices, items, services, and voice assistants use one ecosystem more than others
Non-Exclusive – none of the ecosystems is used more than any others
We drew on the TUP data to identify a broad range of offerings within Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon ecosystems.
Connected devices – smartphones, tablets, PCs, or game consoles, using Apple iOS, MacOS, Google ChromeOS, Google Android, Google-branded, or Microsoft Windows
Services – Music/Video (Apple Music, Prime Video (in Amazon Prime), Prime Music (in Amazon Prime), Amazon Music Unlimited, Google Play Music)
Items – TV set-top boxes (Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google TV/Android TV, Google Nexus Player, Google ChromeCast), speakers (Amazon Echo, Amazon Spot or Dot, Amazon Show, Google Home, Google Max or Mini, Apple HomePod), Game Consoles (Microsoft Xbox One X, Microsoft Xbox One, Microsoft Xbox 360, Microsoft Xbox, Microsoft Other), smartwatches (Apple Watch, Android Watch)
Voice assistants – active use of a voice assistant (Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana) through a connected device
The segmentation approach was a simple categorization based on the accumulation of the above attributes. Each device, service, item or voice assistant was given an equal weight.
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.
Every Step You Take – Smartphone Step-Trackers – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, March 24, 2017
Baby steps count, as long as they’re in the right direction. Digital health promises positive outcomes for a wide range of people. However, like gym memberships and home treadmills, they don’t do much unless people use them. A first step for many is to use what’s handy. Most Smartphones can track a user’s steps, and many are being used for that purpose, although use isn’t as widespread as Fitness Trackers or Smartwatches.
Phone Home or Walk Home?
Using one’s Smartphone to track steps is a regular activity for 25 million, or 1 in 9, US adults. There are other ways to track one’s health. Electronics activity trackers, such as the FitBit, are being actively used by 39.6 million, or 18% of US adults. Continue reading →
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Today’s earliest adopters of wearable technology include some, but not only, the earliest tech adopters. The first 10% of connected adults are using any of a HeadCam (such as a GoPro), a fitness tracker (such as FitBit), or a Smartwatch. These leading users are 41% higher than the average connected adult in their share of Early Adopters for key tech products. 22% of these adults sporting a wearable device were the first in their age group to adopt a PC, Mobile phone, or Tablet PC.
Expanding the definition of wearable technology to include actively used Bluetooth Headsets, this group accounts for 18% of connected adults. These wearable technology users also include a higher-than-average share of Early Adopters, with 21%.
Although wearable technology products have been available and market-tested for decades, market conditions are finally pointing to this as an area of growth. Mobility as a lifestyle has expanded beyond the core road warriors into other market segments. Furthermore, awareness has broadened beyond the small set of enthusiasts. A substantial number of connected adults say they are eager to be “first” with wearable technology, and these aren’t only the early adopters.
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