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.

Source

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.

 

Getting Things Done – The Primary Device from PCs to Smartphones [TUPdate]

Getting things done. Isn’t it one of the main explanations we offer when we’re buying our tech devices?

While much of actual tech device usage is about entertainment, communication, and shopping, productivity has its solid place in everyday use.

Whether using a PC, Smartphone, Tablet, or some combination, the majority of connected adults turn to their devices for everything from scheduling appointments to calling on a voice assistant. Based on our Technology User Profile 2017 US survey wave, 88% of Connected Adults regularly use one of their connected devices for any of a range of productivity activities.

Mobility is the Key to Productivity Activities

Having one’s device handy is key for the productivity-oriented. The majority of productivity activities are regularly done using a mobile device – a Notebook, Tablet, or Mobile Phone. This focus on mobility has remained relatively constant over the last few years, representing over two-thirds of the primary productivity devices.

PCs as Dominant Device Type for Productivity

Americans use a PC of some kind for most of their productivity activities. This majority position has withered over the last two years, declining slightly from 54% and 55% of adults to the 51% mark in 2017.
During that same time period, more adults have made the switch from Basic cell phones to Smartphones. This has helped Mobile Phones to increase their share as the favored productivity device, rising to second-place with 41% of adults.

Smartphone surpass Desktops as preference for productivity

Diving more deeply into the TUP data, and looking at connected devices in a more detailed view, Smartphones emerge as the major productivity device. Even looking at Desktops versus Smartphones by combining Tower Desktops with All-in-One Desktops, the year 2017 marks the first time that Smartphones outnumber Desktops as the preferred Productivity device. In 2016, TUP showed that 37% of the primary productivity devices are Desktops to 34% for Smartphones. In 2017, this shifted to 33% Desktops and 39% Smartphones.
Voice Assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, are one of the major productivity activities which have grown in usage, especially on Smartphones. For those users who primarily use a Smartphone for most of their productivity, 57% use a Voice Assistant at least monthly, a level which is 44% higher than the national average. They’re also 30% or more higher than average to be using their Smartphone to manage tasks/to-do items, their personal or work calendar, store their contacts, and to save and play voice memos.
Notebooks, on the other hand, are making a gradual retreat as the productivity device of choice. These still stand out, however, for being above average for certain activities among those who favor their notebooks for productivity. Several productivity activities which are done on notebooks at 25% or more above average: collaborating on work or personal files, finances/accounting, write/manage text/notes/documents, download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and ad blocking software. Yes, the productivity-oriented are more likely than average to block ads and get back to work.
For productivity-primary desktop PCs, however, only two productivity activities stand out above average in their regular use: download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and ad blocking software. Although these two activities do reduce interruptions, they aren’t particularly productive. This indicates that Desktops are likely to continue their slide from primacy for productivity. They’ll either be consigned to other types of activities, or be overtaken by notebooks or tablets.

Looking ahead

Although habits change slowly, they do change. Even as users move between multiple devices, it takes time for them to migrate their behaviors from one way of doing things to another. Apps that have versions that support platforms can ease the user’s migration between devices. By simultaneously supporting multiple platforms, app makes can also make it easier for users to get things done among their own collection of devices, further supporting user’s own choices.

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 2015 through 2017, its 35th consecutive wave. Comparable results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. 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.

Inexorable Device Trends – Beyond the Niche, Fad, and Fizzle

Inexorable Device Trends – Beyond the Niche, Fad, and Fizzle – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, March 10, 2017

It can be exciting to see the hockey-stick charts, with everything up and to the right. It’s important to put the numbers into context, though, through a more grounded analysis of the active installed base. Yes, Apple’s long-climb into broader use of their triumvirate is substantial, Smartphones are quickly replacing basic cell phones, and PCs and Printers persist. Their market size confirms their importance.

We humans are wired to notice change. Our very eyes send more information about motion than background. While life-saving should tigers head our way, this capability can be our undoing if we miss gradual changes, like the slithering snake in the grass creeping towards us. Watching an installed base of technology has some parallels. For some, it can seem as if nothing is really changing even while important shifts are taking place.

For over 35 years, I have tracked technology usage trends and profiles, all calibrated by watching customers through surveys such as our Metafacts Technology User Profile. Among other truisms, I’ve seen that true technology trends aren’t sudden. Solid trends are the summation of the habits, preferences, and activities of millions of technology users. They’re inescapable, inexorable, and years in the making. Trends become truly important when they’ve spread beyond being a niche, fad, or fizzle, and reached beyond those first few early adopters.

In this analysis, I’m diving into several key broad dominant trends in technology device usage across American adults. In separate analyses, I’ll drill deeper into the next level of TUP data, revealing which market segments are making the most decisive changes. Continue reading “Inexorable Device Trends – Beyond the Niche, Fad, and Fizzle”