Tag Archives: Technology adoption

Smartphones Rise, PCs and Printers Float, Tablets Waver – User Trends (TUPdate)

Connected Adults using Key Devices

The number of connected adults continues to rise in the US. Based on our Technology User Profile (TUP) 2017 wave, there are 212.6 million adults who regularly connect to the Internet using a PC, Mobile Phone, Tablet, or Game Console. This number is up 18.9 million from the 193.8 million adults we reported in our TUP 2013 wave.

While some of the increase has come from a growing adult population, the share of adults actively connected has also grown, due in large part to the increasing use of Smartphones.

The use of Tablets such as Apple’s iPad has also expanded since 2013, although declined somewhat in 2017.

Home PC usage has remained relatively stable, having appeared to be on the decline after 2013, only to regain again slightly. In part, this return was supported as buyers picked up new All-in-One and Gaming PC designs. Also, many online shoppers are still preferring their larger-screen PCs or Tablets over their Smartphones.

Use of Home Printers continues to have steady, if modest, growth. The percent of Home PC users with Home Printers has rebounded from 82% in 2013 to 88% in 2017. Home inkjets continue to be the user’s printer of choice.

Key Device User Profile

American Technology Users are getting older, on average. The average (mean) age of Connected Adults has increased gradually since 2013, rising from 44.1 to 44.9. The average age of Smartphone users has grown the most dramatically, rising from 37.2 in 2013 to 43.1 in 2017. Similarly, the average Tablet users is older than only a few years ago, rising from 40.2 in 2013 to 44.2 in 2017.

Average Age of Connected Adults using Key Devices

Home Desktops continue to be used by older adults than users of Notebooks, Smartphones or Tablets, although the average age has declined somewhat.

Digging deeper, we looked at the shifts in usage rates for key devices among parents. Adults with children are the biggest spenders on technology devices and services, as we’ve reported in other findings we’ve released from MetaFacts TUP.

Smartphone usage has grown strongly between 2013 and 2017, although is appearing to be leveling off to be just slightly higher than the current level. At 87% of adults with children, Smartphones are ahead of Home PCs. The use of Home PCs by parents has dropped somewhat from 85% in 2013 to 78% in 2017. Home printer use remained a steady 70%-71% among parents.

% of Parents using Key Devices

Adults with children make up 37% of Connected Adults in 2017, higher than the rate in 2013, which was 32%. In addition to being a sizable segment of the market by numbers, as we’ve reported elsewhere in TUP, they spend much more than the average adult on technology devices and services.

Solo adults

Adults in one-person households have a different profile than parents. To begin with, Home Notebooks are used by fewer adults in one-person household than among adults with children, at 43%. Smartphone and Tablet usage has grown, although trails usage rates among parents.

Home Printer use has sagged among single adults, dropping from 68% in 2013 to 63% in 2017.

Solo adults make up 20% of Connected Adults in 2017, effectively the same rate as in 2013, at 21%.

% of Adults in One-Person Households using Key Devices

Looking ahead

The trend is continuing with a multi-device experience for many years to come. Although Tablets appeared to be emerging as a third device, most users actively use both a mobile phone and PC. While Smartphones are growing in use, they aren’t fully replacing PCs or Tablets for most of user’s activities. Although consumers continue to explore and experiment with ways to enjoy what they have, changes in behavior can come slowly. The inertia of consumers is a major factor.

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 survey, from 2013 through 2017, its 35th consecutive wave. Similar results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.


Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.

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Filed under Consumer research, Demographics & Econographics, Desktops, Devices, Market Research, Market Sizing, Notebooks, Smartphones, Statistics, Tablets, Tech Market, TUP 2013, TUP 2014, TUP 2015, TUP 2016, TUP 2017, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

Voice Assistants-Does Age Matter? (MetaFAQs)

Age by Recency of Voice Assistant Use

Age matters when it comes to Voice Assistant use, and it’s overly simplistic to say that they’re mostly being used by younger adults. Yes, there’s a strong age difference between active Voice Assistant users, former users, and those who’ve never even given one a try. And yes, otherwise-connected adults that have never used a Voice Assistant are older than active users by a decade. The average age of a Connected Adult who has never used a Voice Assistant is 51.7 years. By comparison, the average age for active Voice Assistant users, those who’ve used one at least once within the last 90 days, is 41.6 years.

However, in this time of experimentation and users finding their own voices, younger adults are disproportionately former Voice Assistant users. They used a Voice Assistant within the last year and haven’t used one since.

This is based on results from the MetaFacts Voice User Profile (VUP) survey conducted in February 2018. The results report on active usage, which is a practical measure to contrast with the promised potential of what Voice Assistants may or may not be able to do.

Our TUP 2017 results show a similar pattern – the novelty effect. Older Millennials have the highest active Voice Assistant usage rates. This group of 28-36 year-olds also shows the steepest dropoff between recent and less-recent use. This novelty effect is also prevalent among younger millennials (age 18-27) as their usage rate drops.

Voice Assistant Usage Recency by Age


As a long-time tech analyst, I’ve seen many technologies go through fits and starts as they either reach broader adoption or settle back into their niches. Apple’s Macs had PlainTalk 25 years ago, yet the voice recognition and speech synthesis system never reached widespread regular use. Still, the earliest adopters found ways to use these early Voice Assistants, such as dictation. Apple’s Siri arguably brought usable Voice Assistants into handy use for a much broader audience. The most-recent entries from Amazon and Microsoft to Google have brought a lot of heat and light to the category, although it’s still too early to declare Voice Assistants as be mainstream. There are many challenges ahead for makers of Voice Assistant systems and listening devices. It’s hard enough to encourage users to experiment with a Voice Assistant. It’s even harder to get users to continue using a technology after the novelty wears off. Many who have tried have given up, disappointed or daunted that their Voice Assistant hasn’t lived up their, er, its words.

Related research results

The MetaFacts Voice User Profile includes other related analysis, including:

  • The subjects Voice Assistant users ask about: weather, scheduling, music, entertainment, home automation, and more
  • Which Voice Assistant systems are being actively used, on which platforms, and which segments they are attracting
  • Which listening devices are being actively used – from Smart Speakers to Smartphones and Headsets
  • Where Voice Assistant users will – and won’t – do their talking: in restaurants, driving, while walking, and many other locations and settings
  • How well – or poorly – users experience their Voice Assistants, and how performance metrics vary by system and listening device
  • Reasons given why consumers have never used a Voice Assistant, as well as why former users aren’t currently active users


The information in this MetaFAQ is based on a survey of 7,410 online adults in mid-2017 as part of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile (TUP) study and 525 online adults during February 2018 as part of the MetaFacts Voice User Profile (VUP) study. The TUP and VUP study universes included a representative sample of online adults, with active Voice Assistant users, former Voice Assistant users, as well as consumers who have never used a Voice Assistant. Current TUP subscribers can obtain the results of this newest research at a discount. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to VUP or TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

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The Gift of a Home PC (TUPdate)

The Gift of a Home PC – A TUPdate by Dan Ness, November 3, 2017

Many Home PCs arrive wrapped with a bow, having been a gift from some well-meaning friend or family member. In our most recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP 2017 US), we found that 11% of recently acquired (2016 or 2017) Home PCs were acquired as a gift.td1711 included with gift home PC 2017-11-03_12-27-49

Many of the gift Home PCs came with more than wrapping and a bow, with a higher-than-average share bundled with a scanner, monitor/display, and printer. It stands to reason that these generous donors are including their used scanners, monitors, and printers.

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Filed under Consumer research, Desktops, Market Research, Notebooks, Tablets, TUP 2017, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

Clouds Forming (TUPdate)

Clouds Forming – A TUPdate by Dan Ness, April 13, 2017

The terms “free” and “unlimited” continue to entice consumers and employees alike, in offers of faster bandwidth to larger data storage. The promise of enormous, convenient, and always-available storage space is helping Google, Apple, and Microsoft attract and retain customers within their fold. It’s also helping Amazon and the many other dedicated Cloud Storage/Sharing services, even while many offerings may be risking consumer and corporate security and privacy.

Cloud Storage and Sharing services have tapped into core needs, reaching a high share of American adult consumers and employees. We Americans like our stuff, and we love convenience. As surely as we pile clutter into garages and self-storage facilities, we accumulate countless zettabytes of images, music, movies, pre-binged TV episodes, documents, among other files. We also want to know our stuff is safe and can be easily retrieved whenever and wherever we want it. Continue reading

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Filed under Cloud Storage, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Notebooks, Operating systems, Smartphones, Tablets, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Usage Patterns

Every Step You Take – Smartphone Step-Trackers (TUPdate)

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.
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Filed under Demographics & Econographics, Fitness Trackers, Market Research, Personal and Productivity, Smartphones, Smartwatches, TUP 2016, TUPdate, Usage Patterns