Tag Archives: Tech Market

Reality – Windows XP is still king, and mixed households are the new norm

The reality is that technology adoption doesn’t change overnight, despite hype, millions of dollars of advertising & marketing, and the best efforts of experienced experts. A case in point is the installed base of personal computers and their operating systems.

XP is still the dominant operating system in households in 2008. Vista is present in 23% of the households while XP still holds strong with 81%. Older versions of Windows are in one out of 20 households.

Households that have upgraded to Vista are more likely to have their Primary Home PC set up with this operating system, while half of the second and third PCs are set up with XP.

Vista households have two-thirds (69%) of their primary PCs operating Vista and one-third (28%) of their primary PCs set up with XP.

  • Half (45%) of the Vista households with a second PC are running XP while the other half (47%) are running Vista.
  • Half (50%) of the Vista households that have a third PC are running XP while 4 out of 10 (39%) are running Vista. One in 20 (5%) are Apple or Macintosh OS.
  • Only one in 20 (6%) Vista households with a second PC is running an older Windows OS (i.e. 2000, 98, NT, ME).
  • One in 10 (7%) Vista households with a third PC is running an older Windows OS (i.e. 2000, 98, NT, ME).

XP households tend to standardize on XP, and have other operating systems on their other PCs, but at a very low level.

Nine out of ten (91%) XP households have their primary PCs running XP and only 1 in 20 (6%) operating Vista.

  • Eight out of ten (81%) XP households with a second PC have it set up with XP while one out of ten (11%) have Vista. One out of 20 (5%) are an older version of Windows OS.
  • Eight out of ten (76%) XP households that have a third PC are running XP and only one out of ten is running Vista (11%). One out of ten is likely to be an older version of Windows (7%) and one out of 20 is an Apple (5%)

Older Windows Households have a unique mix of Microsoft operating systems. More than half (54%) of the Older Windows Households have an older version of Windows OS (i.e. 2000, 98, NT, ME) running their Primary PC. While a little less than half (45%) of the Primary PCs in these households have a newer version of Microsoft OS; XP accounts for 35% while Vista accounts for 10%.

  • Over half (54%) of the Older Windows Households that have a second PC have it set up with an older Windows version. Four out of ten (38%) have XP on their second PC and only one in 20 (6%) have Vista.
  • Six out of ten (57%) Older Windows Households that have a third PC have it set up with an older Windows version. Three out of ten (34%) are set up with XP and one in 20 (5%) are Vista.

Households that have at least one Apple PC and have more than one PC may have those other PCs running a Window OS.

  •  Seven out of ten (67%) have the Primary PC with an Apple-based OS. One out of 10 (7%) have a Vista on their Primary PC; two out of ten (23%) have XP on their Primary PC.
  • For Apple Households that have more than one PC, half of the second and third PCs are Windows-based PCs, while the other half are Apple-based PCs.


Other findings in the MetaFacts Operating Systems Profile Report include:

  • Operating System Landscape
    • Multi-PC and Multi-OS Households
  • Home Operating Systems and Demographics
    • Having children in the household does make a difference for Vista
    • Household employment and operating system
    • Education level and operating system within the household
    • Annual household income and operating system
    • People age 18-34 are using more Apple primary home PCs than older people
  • Purchase Channels
    • Apple gets a bigger share of direct sales than Windows PCs
  • PC Brands & Operating Systems
    • New PC brands bought by operating system
    • Total installed base for all primary home PCs shows some movement from the big brands in the new PC market
  • Changes in PC Form Factors – Laptops are coming on strong as new primary PC form factor
  • How Different Operating Systems are Used Differently
    • Email is the most frequent activity of users on all primary home PCs
    • New primary home PC user activities
  • Operating Systems and Other Consumer Electronics
    • Handheld device use and operating system of the household
    • Imaging behavior and household operating system
    • Television viewing habits and operating system in the household
    • Convenience is the key for households that have at least one Apple Home PC
    • Some Older Windows Households are planning to upgrade while still taking advantage of older technology
  • Technology Attitudes and Operating Systems
    • Attitudes of adult PC users vary with operating system

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Broadband, Digital Imaging, 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 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 or www.metafacts.com

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2008

TUPdate: Enough Pixels for More Than Quick Pix: Cell Phone Pioneers Disrupting Digital Imaging

A uniquely vital market segment has been taking their camera shutter fingers for a walk, using their cell phone digital cameras more than their traditional digital cameras. It used to be that those of us who had a camera on our cell phone were ahead of the game – the tech-savvy breed of consumer. These days, if your phone hasn’t got a camera, you might as well be Paleolithic. Our new MetaFacts Digital Imaging Lifecycle research survey has identified a web-savvy group that is finding their cell phone cameras to be good enough and convenient enough to be their primary camera. To the extent this segment is a bellwether group, it could spell a major shift in the way Americans take pictures.


Why is this important?

Every company involved in digital imaging is affected when consumers migrate from one type of camera to another. Printer & ink manufacturers and PC & software makers are impacted when cellcam photographers find it easier to share their photos via cell networks than print them. Similarly, photo-sharing websites not conveniently linked to cellcams run the risk of missing out on the newest-captured images.

First let’s look at these “cellcammers,” or those people who most often use a cellcam over a standard digital camera.  Nearly three-quarters of cellcammers also own (and use) a digital camera, but for most of their picture taking, they choose to use their cells instead. We discovered this in our survey of 2,000 active digital imagers in the MetaFacts Digital Imaging Lifecycle study, a Focus Edition of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile service.

Does this foreshadow an irreversible move away from the trusty, full-featured digital camera?  Not quite yet.  It is true that cellcam use is on the rise, but cellcammers and digicammers are not mutually exclusive groups.  Out of those surveyed, 68% of primarily digital camera users report using a cellcam as well.  The border between these categories is relatively fluid, and the tipping point seems to hinge on convenience over quality.  Digicammers are more likely to process or edit their images than cellcammers, who tend to leave more photos as-is; 48% of cellcammers used basic retouching in the last year, compared with 68% of digicammers.  This implies more of a desire for image quality in digicammers than cellcammers.

It begs the question, however, that as the quality gap narrows between digital cameras and cell phone cameras, will everyday photographers simply leave their digital cameras at home more often? Will this be similar to the way cellphones replaced many wristwatches as timepieces, as we reported in the 2004 Edition of Technology User Profile?

Cellcams have passed the critical half-way mark. Now over half (55%) of active digital imagers ever use their cellcam to take pictures. The cellcam-exclusive group is still at the leading edge, currently numbering 6% of active digital imagers.

The line between digicammers and cellcammers does become blurred in the issue of convenience.  Both groups report a desire for ease of use in their cameras; 72% of digicammers and 71% of cellcammers say they like cameras that are simple and easy to use.  This similarity shows that both groups could potentially gravitate to the same camera, whether attached to a phone or not, as long as it were straightforward and easy.  However, that ideal camera would also have to produce relatively high-quality images, as significant numbers in both groups report that even their favored camera does not have as many pixels as they might like (64% of cellcammers and 42% of digicammers say this).

More cellcammers use disposable/single-use cameras than their digicam-philic counterparts, with 41% of cellcammers having used a disposable camera in the past year, compared to 23% of digicammers.  This may be another result of the noted gap in image quality between cellcams and standard (including digital) cameras.  Cellcammers gravitate toward the convenience of the cell phone camera, but when faced with a situation calling for better image quality, many of these consumers run to the nearest drug store or camera shop for a quick disposable boxcam-fix.

While both groups report a desire for more pixels, it is predominantly cellcammers who note their cameras are lacking in this respect, and this seems to result from a (possibly outdated) sense of novelty in cellcam production.  Many cell handset manufacturers appear to add cameras as an afterthought, making the technology inferior to that of a full camera, from a lag in color balance to substandard lighting, and also barely integrated with the cell phone’s software.

Even with the sense of novelty prevailing among most cellular handset cameras, consumers will make the final determination if there is a wholesale shift away from single-function digital cameras. With convenience and adequate quality as their banners, web-savvy cellcammers are likely to sway everyday photographers using their blogs, Facebook posts, and spontaneously taken yet artistic contributions.

Background & Methodology

The information in this TUPdate is drawn from Technology User Profile (TUP), a survey-based study conducted by MetaFacts. Factual, decision-making information like this is only found in one place, Technology User Profile (TUP) from MetaFacts. The Technology User Profile market research information service is based on extensive primary research selected and balanced to represent the complete spectrum of technology users and non-users, including knowledge workers, salespeople, factory workers, retirees, the self-employed and the unemployed. Drawn from thousands of surveys per year, TUP is the longest-running, comprehensive total market technology study available. TUPdates are brief summaries of information contained in the Technology User Profile.

Usage Guidelines

This TUPdate is provided as a service to subscribers of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile® service, technology marketers, the investment community and other interested parties. Current Technology User Profile subscribers may freely distribute this information within their firms. Further information about Technology User Profile can be obtained at the website www.metafacts.com or by contacting us at:

MetaFacts, Inc.


If you were forwarded this TUPdate and wish to get on the list for future articles, please complete a subscription request form.
To Obtain More Information
To obtain the analysis and supporting survey results for this TUPdate, visit the MetaFacts TUP Online Store to order the TUPdate package. To acquire the complete Digital Imaging Lifecycle Report, visit the MetaFacts TUP Online Store.



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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Statistics, Tech Market, TUP 2007, TUPdate

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

TUPdates: Among Home Computer Users, Beginners and Novices Still Rule

Most home PC users (more than 60 percent, in fact) have less than ten years experience using a PC, and add-ons like digital cameras and broadband Internet connections may only intimidate them. But there are also plenty of veterans sitting at home PCs, and the figures (derived from the latest Technology User Profile research from MetaFacts, with a sample of 10,418 users) concerning the experience level of home users hide some surprises.

For instance: yes, home users are less experienced than workplace users-but there are nearly as many long-time veterans in each market. The early adopters with over 20 years of computer experience number 6.3% of the home PC users and a close 7.6% of workplace users. But the basic fact is that a healthy majority of home PC buyers will be either beginners (with one to five years’ experience) or novices (six to ten years), with the two groups together representing nearly two-thirds (61.3%). The numbers change dramatically after the 10-year level, with fewer and fewer home users in the tiers with more experience. But, surprisingly, there is a significant bulge in the novice (six to ten years) tier. That tier is 45 percent larger than the beginner tier, and bigger than the next two tiers put together (i.e., those with 11 to 15 years, and those with 16 to 20 years experience.) Evidently there was a disproportionately large uptake of home PCs in the late 1990s, driven with the mass market’s discovery of email, and other off-shoots of the dot-com bubble catching the buyers’ fancies.

But while beginners continue to arrive at (and expand) the market, they are evidently not being drawn by the siren call of digital cameras, or of broadband Internet connectivity. In the beginner tier, digital camera ownership was 26 percent lower than the rate of PC ownership, and the percent subscribing to a broadband Internet connection was 32 percent lower than the rate of computer ownership. Evidently, beginners have all they can handle with the basic PC, and may be more likely to be frightened than enticed by additional options. But these adoption rates are made up for by modestly higher rates among the more experienced tiers.

When ranked by income, the number of beginners with incomes falling below $50,000 per year was far above average (34.7 percent were beginners, versus 25 percent for total home PC users.) In that income bracket there was no real bulge-the beginner tier was almost as large as the novice tier. Presumably, this concentration of beginners stems from the presence of a lot of young people in the lower income brackets, who have not climbed the income ladder yet. At the same time, they have had not had time to buy many PCs for their homes, assuming they even have their own homes. This spike in the figures would point the advisability of youth-oriented advertising, to instill brand recognition and loyalty in those who are just coming into the market. But don’t forget that these people are also in the lower income bracket, meaning that they are likely to be extremely price conscious.

What did not significantly sway the figures away from the average was the presence or absence of children in the home-computer experience and parenthood appear to be separate issues. (The majority of respondents, however, reported having children in the home.) The presence or absence of child and teenage users, however, was a slightly different story. Those with child users in the home (aged three to 12) showed experience rates very close to the average, indicating little impact on the market. But those reporting teenaged users (aged 13 to 19) showed experience rates slightly higher than the average-but only in the novice tier. This would indicate that the impact of teenage users is small, but should not be discounted.

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