Tag Archives: Tipping Point

Mobile PC Market – Size and Trends

Mobile PC Market – Size and Trends

After more than three decades of pioneering and innovative experimentation, mobile PCs have finally reached the mainstream. During the first half of 2008, consumers and employees acquired as many mobile PCs as desktops.

News flash: even more recent updates to this information are available to subscribers to the full Technology User Profile service, the TUP Overview Report, and other TUP Profile Reports. For examples of mobile market questions answered by TUP, refer to the TUP Answers page for Mobile Computing. and the TUP Answers page for Mobile Phones.

The Shift To Mobility

The installed base is still dominated by desktops, representing many years of accumulation and retirement of consumer-owned and employer-owned PCs, some acquired new and others acquired used or refurbished. Of the 144 million PCs being used by American adults as their primary PC, one-third (33%) are mobile PCs, mostly owned by consumers.


The installed base is increasingly mobile, although still dominated by older desktops. While half of PCs in use that were acquired in early 2008 are mobile, those acquired in the prior 2 years are made up of 65% desktops and 35% mobile PCs.

This is due in part to three main effects: an increasing price performance ratio relative to desktops, consumer buying behavior, and the physical longevity of desktops. During the last decade, the functionality and capability of notebooks has increased to meet and often exceed that offered in a similarly priced desktop. This has encouraged buyers to consider notebooks over desktops even when mobility is not a primary purchase factor.


Buying habits are also a factor. American technology consumers often buy both hardware and software with more features than they actually need or end up using, as a type of hedge against technological obsolescence and unforeseen needs.

Furthermore, mobile PCs, although designed to be mobile, are relatively fragile. This contributes to their life being shorter than for desktops. The average age of a primary desktop PC is 3.2 years, nearly one year longer than the average age of a mobile PC: 2.3 years.

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

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

News flash: even more recent updates to this information are available to subscribers to the full Technology User Profile service, the TUP Overview Report, and other TUP Profile Reports.

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

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.


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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