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American Screen Time Remains Thirteen Trillion Hours [TUPdate]

American adults are using their connected devices as much as ever, in 2018 totaling 13 trillion hours per week with their Smartphones, PCs, Tablets, and Game Consoles. This is slightly lower than the 13.3 trillion-hour level in 2017.

This is based on the 36th wave of Technology User Profile – TUP 2018. This analysis is based on 7,886 U.S. survey respondents, 7,521 respondents in TUP 2017, and 7,336 in TUP 2016.

Total Screen Time Stabilizes

There has been growing media awareness and reporting about adverse social and health effects from the over-use of technology devices. These concerns have sparked the develop of apps and settings to help monitor and manage screen time. Meanwhile, Americans, and indeed also adults around the world, continue to find useful and entertaining ways to integrate actively connected devices into their lives.

Average Screen Time per Device Stabilizes

The growth in total hours has been partially due to the steadily growing population of online adults between 2016 and 2018. However, during this same time period, the average number of connected devices being actively used has gone down slightly, dropping from 4.3 in 2016 to 4.2 in 2017, and then 3.9 in 2018. The net effect is that the average number of hours per device has actually increased between 2016 and 2018, rising from 13.4 hours per week per device to 15.4.

Total Screen Time Shrinks Among Multi-Device Users

Many of the total screen hours are due to the busyness of the busiest users. In 2016, over a third (34%) of total device hours were due to the activity levels of users using 7 or more connected devices. In 2017, this many-device group dropped to be accounting for 31% of total hours, and by 2018 account for 26% of total hours.

Meanwhile, users with 2 to 4 devices grew from representing 39% of total hours in 2016 to 41% in 2017, and 47% in 2018. This type of bimodal distribution emphasizes the importance of separating fewer-device from multi-device users for a deeper and more relevant understanding.

Screen Time Growth Spans Mono and Multi-Device Users

Drilling down in the TUP data a little further, we can see that the average number of device hours has changed across users with many devices and also among those with few. For users with any given number of devices, the average number of hours increased. While it may seem that this would result in a higher number of total device hours, as mentioned earlier the average number of actively-used connected devices shrank, bringing the total average down.

Looking ahead

Do these trends point to more or fewer devices, or to more or fewer hours using them? I expect a continued wobble in the number of devices being used.

“BOB” is one of the strongest forces bringing about a rising average number of devices. The key benefit from a Best-Of-Breed is having a narrow-function device which does something well. High-end cameras are very popular with expert photographers who value their specialized capabilities. The first cell phones were simple enough for phone calls and did very little else.

Forces in the direction of users using fewer devices include the absorption that comes from functional substitution. Smartphones were able to incorporate photography – absorbing the functionality of most standalone cameras, especially for ordinary photographers. Similarly, smartphones offered music-playing – thereby replacing most iPods and MP3 players. To the extent smartphone screens can become large enough to rival larger-screened tablets and PCs, they can begin to act as substitutes for image-intensive activities such as shopping. Similarly, to the extent voice assistants truly take hold beyond the niche or novelty stage, devices which support these may begin to reduce user’s demand for as many connected devices.

As to screen time measurement and monitoring taking hold among the mass market, I expect that to go about as well as most New Year’s Resolutions, full of honest intention but ultimately most of us will be distracted back into our habits.

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, and this TUPdate focused on the U.S. From the installed base we focused in on online adults and how many hours they use a Smartphone, PC, or Tablet.

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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.

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Filed under Devices, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate

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.

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Filed under Behaviors and Activities, Cloud Storage, Communication, Consumer research, Desktops, Entertainment, Game Consoles, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Personal and Productivity, Shopping, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

How and Where PCs and Tablets Are Used Differently Than Smartphones [TUPdate]

People love their Smartphones and find more to do with them than PCs or Tablets. Around the world, there are few activities done with PCs as regularly as are done with Smartphones. Furthermore, there are no activities done more so on Tablets than on either Smartphones or PCs. Usage profiles vary somewhat by country. Online adults in the U.S. use their connected devices differently than users in many other countries.

These findings are based on the TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 study of 14,273 online adults in the US, UK, Germany, India, and China. Of the more-than 70 activities in the TUP survey tied to each device, we identified those with the widest range of regular use across devices – defined as the difference between the maximum and minimum usage level between Smartphone, PC, and Tablet users.

MetaFacts TUPdate 1901 18GL Activities Preferred By Each Form 190111_0843

The versatility of smartphones is shown by how much more often they’re the device of choice for nearly every type of activity, from shopping to social networking and fun. The range of activity use is as high as 65% – in the case of making and receiving personal phone calls.

Smartphones are being used the most widely for device-unique activities. The four major activities for smartphones – personal phone calls, taking pictures, text messaging, and storing one’s contacts – are infrequently done on a PC or Tablet. Although the newest tablets have cameras that approach the quality of those on Smartphones, less than a quarter (22%) are being used to take pictures. Also, despite being able to run apps such as WhatsApp or WeChat on Tablets or PCs, phone calls are primarily on Smartphones, even while personal video calls have made inroads on non-phone devices.

PCs are mostly being used for email (personal or work), online shopping (bigger screens entice buyers), and online banking. Tablets are mostly being used for social networking and music listening.

There is a small amount of crossover of activity usage across devices. Two of the major activities for Smartphones are also leading ones on Tablets – adding photos to social media and commenting on other’s images or comments.

American adults use their devices somewhat differently than users in other countries. In addition to personal and work email, PCs are used more often than Smartphones or Tablets for shopping, banking, finances/accounting, and writing.

Tablets are being used more like PCs than Smartphones. The major activities for Tablets, although with smaller percentages than PCs, are also among the major activities for PCs. Also, in the US, UK, and Germany, Tablets are used more often than either PCs or Smartphones for reading a book and making small purchases in person, such as in a coffee shop.

Where PCs Dominate
Smartphones aren’t the only connected device users actively use. There are many activities used at a higher rate on PCs than on Smartphones are tablets. Sending and checking both personal and work email are high on the list across all of the countries surveyed except for India. Also, writing and managing text documents is a PC-preferred activity except in India. In Germany, writing documents is an especially PC-dominant activity. Also, activities relating to using a printer are strongest when using a PC.

Looking ahead

Habits change slowly. Not only do people find effective ways to use connected devices to do what they want, they also show inertia when slowly moving those activities to a different device. Even those users who have multiple devices continue to use the types of devices they had previously for some time before fully embracing a type of device new to them.

Furthermore, there isn’t a single “silver bullet” device that’s preferred for all activities. For some activities, such as reading a book, shopping, or watching television, having a larger display helps. For other activities, such as receiving phone calls or texting, convenience and mobility are key.

We don’t expect the majority of users to concentrate all of their activities on a single device in the near future. Instead, the multi-device experience will continue. PCs may continue to lose their dominance for the many activities they still dominate. Dedicated PC users may just move more of their attention to tablets, especially those focused on passive activities such as social networking or television watching.

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.

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.

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Filed under Behaviors and Activities, Cloud Storage, Communication, Consumer research, Desktops, Devices, Entertainment, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Market Research, Notebooks, Personal and Productivity, Shopping, Smartphones, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate, Usage Patterns, Video calling, Voice Assistant

Are Tablets and Computers Being Used the Same? [TUPdate]

Is an iPad a computer? Is a Microsoft Surface a tablet? What about Chromebooks – how do they fit into user’s uses? The major tech marketers are working to shift perceptions, such as Apple’s positioning of the iPad as a computer. Even though perceptions do shift buying decisions, user innovation and inertia are a force to reckon with. Many users have already pioneered ways to use their devices. We went straight to the users to see if they’re using tablets and notebooks the same, using iPads differently from Android Tablets, and Windows Notebooks from Chromebooks. Our basic hypothesis is that perceived differences, if substantial, can be confirmed by measuring user behavior.

Top Activities for New Home Tablets

iPads are more useful – based on users doing more with them. A higher share of users of recently-acquired home-owned tablets use Apple iPads for more of the major tablet activities than users of new Windows tablets or new home Android tablets. This is based on results from the MetaFacts TUP 2018 survey, conducted among 14,273 respondents across the US, UK, Germany, India, and China.

Top activities for New Home Notebooks

In this survey, we asked respondents about 73 different activities regularly used on the connected devices they actively use, including desktops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, basic cell phones, or game consoles. The activities span a wide range of activities, from communication and entertainment to shopping and productivity. Drilling down to those with new home tablets or notebooks, we found some interesting commonalities as well as striking differences.

Of the top activities used by the largest share of new home tablet users, a higher share of iPads users regularly conduct the majority. Where social network commenting and movie/video watching rank highest among iPad users, these users are somewhat surpassed by Android Tablet users in checking updates on sports and weather, and in downloading free apps/software. User of the newest Windows tablets aren’t strongest in any of the top activities, although they are nearest to the others in listening to music and checking personal email.

iPads, and tablets in general, are used for more passive or limited involvement activities than notebooks. These top tablet activities include listening to music, playing games, watching television, or commenting on social networks. Home notebooks, in contrast, are most widely-used for both personal and work email, online banking, and online shopping.

Unique activities

We also looked at what makes each operating system unique, both on tablets or notebooks, with respect to how users use their mobile devices. We measured uniqueness as the range between the highest and lowest percentage of users of each type of device.

This revealed several differences in tablet use. New home iPads are being used more often for fun and connection than users of new home Windows or Android tablets. Android tablets stand out for being used to read books, shop for free apps, and to use a voice assistant. [TUP subscribers can dive into the data deeper to see the relationship between OS and choice of voice assistant).

New home notebooks are also being used differently between operating systems. Apple’s notebooks are used differently than the average home Windows notebook or Chromebook – with remote PC connections, listening to streaming music, or downloading music.

New Google Chromebooks are used more than average for online banking, to watch videos/movies, to comment on blogs, and to recommend or share information about products and services.

Among these top unique activities, one is unique for new home Windows notebooks: creating personal graphics/presentations.

Looking ahead

Inertia is great for entrenched leaders and a serious barrier for new entrants. People change habits more slowly than they change devices. By focusing on the main activities users enjoy and value, To expand the market will be helped by making it easy and smooth for users to easily do their activities regardless of device type. In Apple’s case, popular activities such as watching videos or movies requires apps or browsers that seamlessly span iOS and MacOS devices.

While users define what they have by how they use it, there will continue to be confusion among some press and analysts seeking to distinguish devices. However, it’s unlikely that a new form factor category will emerge from the push to redefine and reposition platforms. Instead, users will continue to vote with their feet (or in this case, their fingers) and look for the device/OS combinations that will best help them do whatever they want or need to do.

Methodology

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 who were using either a new home tablet or notebook PC. We chose those mobile devices which had been acquired in the most recent 1.5 years, specifically during 2017 and the first half of 2018.

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 2018 survey, its 36th consecutive wave. 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.

 

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Filed under Entertainment, Graphics and Image, Information and Search, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Operating systems, Shopping, Social Networking, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

In Home Mobile Devices, it’s Apple and Google outnumbering Microsoft (TUPdate)

While pundits puzzle and debate, consumers lead the way. Is an iPad a computer, have smartphones replaced other mobile devices, and are PCs dead? Consumers continue to find their own ways and use what they choose, defying definitions, headlines and experts. From among three dominant operating system ecosystems and three main types of mobile devices, home consumers have found their favorites.

In the US and China, Apple’s home mobile devices – smartphones, notebooks, and tablets – outnumber those using Windows or either Google Android or Chrome. In the UK, Apple and Google are effectively tied in outnumbering Windows on mobile devices. This is based on the latest results from the MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) 2018 study, its 36th annual wave.

There are many ways to be mobile for the many who choose to be. Nearly all online adults use some combination of a home smartphone, home notebook, or home tablet. In the UK and Germany, only 8% and 7%, respectively, don’t use any of the three. In China, nearly one in six (16%) online adults aren’t using one of these three home-owned mobile devices.

Each country has its own preferred combination. In India, having simply a smartphone is the most prevalent combination, representing 28% of adults online in India. In other countries, this share is nearer to one in five adults.

Germany stands out for having more users concentrated on two combinations than in other countries. Almost a third (30%) of online adults in Germany use a home notebook and home smartphone, and no home tablet. Another 25% also use a home notebook and home smartphone in addition to a home tablet.

Online adults in the UK are distinguished by having a larger-than-average share (22%) using a home smartphone, home tablet and no home notebook. The US (17%) is closest to the UK with this pairing, and this combination is much less popular in Germany (11%), India (10%), and China (8%).

While smartphones are being included among the devices of mobile adults, there is no single second device – notebook or tablet – paired with the smartphone.

In Germany, the smartphone-notebook combination is being used by the largest number (55%) of online adults. The use of smartphones and tablets is smaller (36%) although still higher than among online adults in China or India.

In India and China, the highest penetration pair is for smartphones and notebooks, in the hands of 41% of online adults in China and 33% of online adults in India. The use of smartphones and tablets is somewhat less, at 31% of online adults in China and 25% of online adults in India.

Online adults in the US and UK have different preferences. The most popular pair is a smartphone and tablet, actively used by 42% of online adults in the UK and 39% in the US. And in the US, as many online adults (39%) use a smartphone and notebook pair.

In the coming year, the partially-mobile are eager to become more mobile in one way or another. Purchase plans are strong for consumers to complete the set of smartphone, tablet, and notebook.

Overall, smartphones are the strongest device of interest. Smartphone purchase plans are especially strong among those online adults that are already using a home notebook and tablet. Plans are strong, although less so, among those who are only using a home tablet.

Notebook purchase plans are also strong. They are strongest among those who are only using a home tablet. They are also strong among those who aren’t using any of these mobile devices, and for this group, notebook plans are slightly higher than their plans for a smartphone or tablet.

Purchase plans for tablets are lower than those for smartphones or notebooks. The strongest plans almost paint the picture of tablets as an entry-level mobile device, as they’re strongest among online adults who aren’t already using a smartphone, tablet, or notebook. Plans are almost as strong among those only using a notebook, although plans for tablets lag behind plans for smartphones.

For those only using a home smartphone, purchase plans are lowest for either a tablet or notebook.

Looking further ahead

Mobility means many things to consumers – freedom, ease of use, and the ability to do as they’d like, whenever and wherever they’d like.

An internet connection is a vital part of mobility. Mobile device makers have been extending the mobile connection with mobile devices having built-in LTE/cellular capabilities, especially tablets. So far, consumers haven’t fully embraced extending their cellular subscriptions. When they’re less connected, they’re staying nearer to familiar Wi-Fi connections, using a portable hotspot or tethered connection, or reaching for their smartphones.

Another aspect of true mobility is usefulness, and users enjoy some activities more on notebooks or tablets than on smartphones which generally have smaller screens or that don’t have key applications. In other analysis we profile which activities users choose for their smartphones and which they choose for their notebooks or tablets.

Above all, users are continuing to choose between the many mobile offerings and haven’t settled on a single form factor or combination of mobile devices. Mobility in whatever form will continue to reach an ever-broader number of online adults.

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 2018 survey, its 36th consecutive wave. 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.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Multiple Devices, Notebooks, Operating systems, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2018, TUPdate