Tag Archives: Social networks

Google+ … Reversing the Polarity? (TUPdate)

This week, Google announced they’ll be pulling the plug on the consumer-facing Google+, although after unreported widening abandonment. Google’s social network rocket never quite left orbit and was already on its way down. Although the decision was partly portrayed as protecting user’s privacy, recently a substantial number of Google+ users had already abandoned the platform.

In the last year, a substantial number of Google+ users stopped returning. This is based on the results of our independent survey, TUP (Technology User Profile), conducted continuously since 1983. From mid-2014 through mid-2017, Google+ had continued its steady, but stagnant, usage patterns. During that time, the number of active US adult users hovered between 41.7 and 48.6 million. Even before Google announced the closure of Google+, we found in our most recent wave of TUP, fielded mid-year 2018, that the number of Google+ users had dropped nearly in half, to 25.2 million users.

The final Google+ hangers-on form a unique profile, especially for the sites they frequent. They are three times more likely than the average online adult to be active on MySpace, and twice as likely to be using Viber, Reddit, Imgur, or Tumblr.

Demographically, usage levels plummeted simultaneously for all age and gender groups. At one peak point in 2015, 43% of online males age 25 to 34 were using Google+. By 2018, that plummeted to 14%.

Remaining users are not from any particular gender or age group, as all have penetration rates in the teens.

Looking ahead

Even though Google’s announcement hinted they may refocus Google+ on enterprise users, these are also few in number. In fact, a higher-than-average share of remaining Google+ users are unemployed or employed part-time.

Google’s sunsetting may discourage the remaining loyalists, affecting use of other Google products and services. For example, Google+ users are twice as likely as any other online American to be using Google Nexus Player, and Google Chromecast. And, in China and India, Google+ adult users have an above average share of using Google TV and Google Nexus Player. Furthermore, in India, Google+ users actively use an average of 1.64 Google devices, including Smartphones and Tablets.

If the transition is managed well, Google’s attempt to reverse the polarity of a negative to a positive may avoid inadvertently changing Google+ to Google minus.


This post 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 TUP 2018, its 36th consecutive wave, as well as previous waves. Comparable results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.


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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Social Networking, TUP 2018, TUPdate

Online dating – a flat niche – has tech-savvy daters who like to watch – reported in MetaFacts TUP survey

Ratio of Male to Female Online Daters – MetaFacts

Online dating – a flat niche – has tech-savvy daters who like to watch – reported in MetaFacts TUP survey

A MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, MetaFacts Principal Analyst

Online dating has evolved for decades, having settled into a comfortable niche now spanning all ages and strata. In active use by only a fraction of unattached adults, these services continue to face challenges beyond their direct competitors. Alternatives to connect with others include social networking sites such as Facebook, in addition to more traditional in-person approaches such as clubs and churches. The likeliest near-term innovation will come from the increased use of technology, and not from broad sociological or cultural changes in online dating patterns.

As part of Technology User Profile, we asked respondents whether they are using an online dating service. One in eight (12%) of unattached online adults said they were actively dating online, numbering 9.9 million Americans. This finding is from a carefully balanced sample of 8,175 adults in the second phase of the Technology User Profile survey.

The trend is neither growth nor stagnation in the use of online dating. The current 12% rate is essentially identical to one year prior, where MetaFacts determined that 13% of unattached adults are dating online. This is based on 8,160 respondents.

The MetaFacts measure of active online daters is a smaller number than the estimates reported by many online dating sites and in publicly available industry analyst reports. There are several reasons for this difference. MetaFacts gathered this information from independent bottom-up surveys, not through top-down company guidance. This independent approach gives a uniquely solid view which is not subject to differing definitions of who is and isn’t an active online dater. Also, each adult is counted only once as an online dater, so are not counted for each of the multiple sites they may use. Furthermore, the survey questions about the use of online dating, marital status are included along with vary many other questions about the use of technology. This helps mediate the social effects for answering questions about topics such as online dating.

MetaFacts also found that online dating spans all ages. Unattached adults age 25-44 have the highest incidence of online dating, with one out of six (16%) using the sites. Among the age 45-54 group, one out of seven (14%) date online, and one out of ten (10%) age 55-64. The youngest and oldest age groups have the lowest use. At a 5% incidence, anyone age 65+ will only encounter one out of twenty similarly aged unattached adults.

We also looked into gender disparity, finding more men than women using online dating sites. There are almost twice as many men than women using online dating sites. Males make up 65% of single, separated, divorced, or widowed adults using an online dating site. This is somewhat larger than the 58% share of unattached online adult who are male.

Drilling more deeply into the Technology User Profile datasets, we looked at the gender balance within age groups. To the extent that dating takes place with similarly-aged men and women, a question arises: is there a wider disparity between men and women within certain age groups? [chart]

Unattached Males age 45-54 outnumber similarly aged women by three to one, the widest gap between all same-age groups. In the age 35-34 and age 65+ groups, the ratio of men to women is closer to parity.

We looked at the next decade over, to see how things stand between online daters who are in the age group ten years older or younger than themselves. Among older males paired with younger females, there is less of a disparity between the numbers online. For example, for each Female 25-34, there are 1.5 Males 35-44. For Females 45-54, there is actually a dearth of Males 65+, with the ratio below one to one.

When comparing the ratio of older females to younger males, we found a different story. In most cases, there are many younger males for each older female. For each Female 45-54, there are four or more Males 35-44. Similarly, for each Female 55-64, there are 4.1 Males 45-54.

Note that this research is reporting the age of current active online daters, and is not reporting that online daters are dating others who are ten years older or younger. Most online dating sites offer the capability for daters specify the age of the persons they are seeking. Some sites, such as cougarlife.com, specifically target women who choose to date younger men. Also, this specific analysis does not focus on same-sex dating. It is primarily focused on the big picture of active online daters and who they are.

Singles are significantly more drawn to online dating than those who have been in prior relationships. Unattached adults using an online dating site are mostly made up of Singles (64%) with the rest (36%) being Divorced, Separated, or Widowed. This is similar to the profile unattached adults who are not dating online, 68% of whom are Singles.

Compared to many other developed countries, Americans have median dating rates, based on the 2009 wave of Technology User Profile. Use of online dating sites is highest among German unattached online adults, at nearly one in five (19%). In France and the UK, the rate is closer to one in six, at 16% and 15%, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, online dating sites are used far less often in Italy and South Korea, being used by 6% and 7%, respectively, of unattached adults in those countries.

While cultural norms vary widely from country to country, the key takeaway from these measures is that online dating is not only an American phenomenon.

Another 3.9 million attached online adults also report they are using an online dating service, which is 4% of adults who are married or part of an unmarried couple. This confirms the many anecdotal experiences shared by online daters who have discovered that the person they met online is already involved in an attached relationship. There are also online dating sites which openly cater to facilitating outside relationships among couples, married or not. Based on MetaFacts research, the share of attached online adults using online dating sites has not changed since the prior year.

Looking ahead, innovation in online dating is likely to come from competition within the online dating industry, and less likely to result from overnight societal changes in dating behavior.

This innovation will come in the form of increased consumer use of dating-specific apps for smartphones and tablets such as the Apple iPad.

Online daters have a more tech-savvy and tech-active profile, and are already actively using social networking sites like Facebook. They also use Smartphones at a higher rate than the unattached not dating online.

Due to the sensitive nature of information shared through online dating sites, online dating apps will be subject to the already-heightened privacy concerns of online daters. A higher share of online daters than non-daters take privacy steps with their mobile phones, such as turning off location-based services (LBS), password protecting their phones, and avoiding some apps.

There’s a pent-up demand for freedom of immediate access and even expressions of rebellion among online daters. A higher share of online daters than non-daters feels they should be allowed to text or email while they are driving a car. Most states have enacted legislation to protect the public from distracted drivers, so this demand is unlikely to be met with current heads-down, thumbs-only technology.

Probably the most relevant technology behavior to watch: video calls on mobile phones. A strongly higher share of online daters are already using the new capability of advanced carrier networks and smartphones to make video calls, using products such as FaceTime on Apple iPhones.

MetaFacts expect the broadening of online dating device platforms to encourage churning between sites and the extension of renewals, and not to quickly encourage unattached non-daters to join in online.


MetaFacts Technology User Profile Overview Edition – report available immediately by contacting MetaFacts. 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. This edition is 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 Internet-oriented questions TUP covers on www.technologyuser.com.

About TUPdates

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Smartphones, Netbooks, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Moms and Dads, 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, Inc. is a market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. 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.


Filed under Consumer research, Technology User Overview Report, TUP 2010, TUPdate

How Apple computers are used distinctly from Windows PCs

Apple Home PC users are simply more active than Windows Home PC users. They use their computers for a wider range of activities – 21.1 – than Windows Home PC users – at 17.5 activities.

Also, Apple Home PCs are used differently than Windows Home PCs. Apples are more often used for graphics & imaging, personal, and communication activities, with more than 25% more activities in each category. Apple users simply find a wider range of uses for their computers than Windows users.

Number of Activities by Type - Apple Profile Report 2008

Number of Activities by Type – Apple Profile Report 2008

When it comes to the everyday activities for a Home PC, there is little difference between Apple and Windows PCs. The top 10 activities on Apples are the same as the top 10 for Windows PCs, although the order is slightly different.

Among the top 20 activities for Apple Home PCs, only three are unique to Apple – not in the top 20 for Windows Home PCs:

  •  #14 – Download music or MP3s
  •  #16 – Use a community/social networking group (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Ryze)
  •  #17 – Read online publications (e.g. ezines, blogs)

There are 11 activities which stand out as uniquely Apple, reaching a much higher proportion of its base. Some of these activities are not widespread, so might be leading-edge if they gain popularity among Windows users, or may simply reflect Apple’s unique users.

For example, creating web pages is a function of Apple’s software as well as its audience. One-fourth (25%) of Apple Home PCs are used to create web pages, compared with one in nine (11%) Windows Home PCs. Apple simply makes it easy and smooth to create well-accepted web sites, both with bundled software such as iLife, as well as commercially available software and a tightly supportive ecosystem. Also, Apple users are more often in the creative class, with occupations and interests that are more outer-directed and proactive than typical Windows users.

Uniquely Strong Activities for Apple Home PCs - Apple Profile Report 2008

Uniquely Strong Activities for Apple Home PCs – Apple Profile Report 2008

There is not a large difference in the number of hours that Apple users use their Home PCs than Windows Home PCs. On average, Apple Home PCs are used 18.1 hours per week, slightly less than the 18.5 hour average for Windows Home PCs. Even for the 3rd Home PC, the usage pattern is similar: with Apples being used 10.9 hours per week compared with Windows Home PCs at 9.9 hours per week.

Apple Home PC households have a slightly less utilitarian outlook than non-Apple households. Two-thirds (67%) of Apple households say they find their computer more useful than a year ago. A slightly higher share – 71% – of non-Apple households says the same.


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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2008

Above-average & below-average activities point out even more differences between mobile PC brands

A jaded computer buyer may insist that all computers are essentially the same. Each brand’s engineers and marketers beg to differ, however, as they each work hard to establish their own unique offerings. The acid test rests with the users, and whether they in fact use any brand of computers any differently than others.

It could be argued that of the mobile PC makers, Apple’s mobile users can be expected to be the most unique. Among Apple’s strongest fans, uniqueness could even be insisted on and taken for granted. Yet, there are only a few distinctive activities for Apple mobile PC users. Web publishing stands out on Apple mobile PC above all the Windows mobile PCs. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since Apple bundles in a host of integrated web publishing tools and services to complete an entire web publishing ecosystem.

Other activities which are above-average for Apple mobile PC users are calendar use and sharing images on social networks.

What’s more surprising is that Apple users are only average in downloading music, behind Sony and Acer mobile PC users. As Apple has broadened its market for iPods and iTunes, digital music has resonated with the Acer collectors and the Sony entertainment-oriented ultra-consumers.

One surprise for HP is that its users are only average in their use of online photo-sharing services. This is surprising given HP’s long-time push into digital imaging through its full suite of imaging products and services, including the acquisition of snapfish.com.

Acer mobile PC users have the most numbers of activities which are decidedly different than the activities by users of other mobile PC brands. Their uniqueness is based on analyzing their rank as being three or more positions either higher or lower than any other brand.

Unique Activities by Mobile PC Brand - Mobile PC Brand Profile Report
Unique Activities by Mobile PC Brand – Mobile PC Brand Profile Report


This information is from the MetaFacts Mobile PC Profile Report is available for immediate purchase through the online store at the MetaFacts website – MetaFacts.com       

Other findings in the Mobile PC Profile Report include:

Brand Shares of Mobile & Desktop PCs
Mobile PC Brands by Year Acquired
Market Segments and Mobile PC Brands
Operating Systems & Mobility
Operating Systems on Mobile PCs – Pre-installed or Aftermarket?
Operating Systems by Mobile PC Brand
User Age and Mobile Computing
User Age and Mobile PC Brand
User Gender and Mobile PC Brand
Age within Gender of Primary Computer User and Mobile PC Brand
Number of Locations by Gender and Age
Employment Status and Mobile Computing
Employment Status and Mobile PC Brands
Market Segment by Mobile PC Brand
Big & Small Companies and PC Mobility
Educational Level and Mobile PC Brand
Household Income by Mobile PC Brand
Age of Kids and Mobility of PC
Mobility Doesn’t Always Mean Mobile Use
Locations for Mobile PCs
Public PC Locations by Mobile PC Brand
Mobile PC Brand by Number of Locations Used
Mobile PC Users and the Total Number of PCs Used
Mobile PC Brand by Number of PCs Regularly Used
PC Purchase Year by Mobility
New versus Used/Refurbished by Mobile PC Brand
Hours of Use by Mobile PC Brand
Busy Mobile PCs and Mobile PC Brands
Activities and Mobility
Major Activities Point Out that Mobile PC Brands Vary
Tech Attitude Gap between Mobile PC and Desktop Users
Tech Attitudes by Mobile PC Brand
Brand Loyalty by Mobile PC Brand
Scanners by Mobile PC Brand
Docking Solutions by Mobile PC Brand
Firewire Usage by Mobile PC Brand
Sony Mobile PC Users Shop at a Broader Selection of Outlets
Which Mobile PC Users Frequent which Online and Retail Outlets
Retail Purchase Channels & Outlets by Mobile PC Brand
Online Purchase Channels & Outlets by Mobile PC Brand 

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Moms and Dads, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry topics. These Profile Reports are in a series on specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption and use in American households and businesses. Interested technology professionals can sign up at www.metafacts.com for complimentary TUPdates, periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile 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 widely recognized as a primary marketing resource for Fortune 1000 companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, peripherals, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Mobile Phones, 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


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


Create web pages (web publishing)


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


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


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


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