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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.

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

The eight busiest mobile-PC-using occupations

The eight busiest mobile-PC-using occupations

There is a wide difference in mobile PC activity by occupational group. As few as 7% of some occupations use a mobile PC 40 or more hours per week. As many as 37% of other occupational groups use their PC this much.

When looking at occupational groups by the percent that use mobile PCs the most, 8 groups are above average: Consultant/Analysts, Computer Technologists, Creative/Writer/Performer, Finance, Scientist/Engineer, Management, Legal, and Non-IT Technical. All of these groups have nearly one-fifth (18%) or more of their mobile users who use their mobiles 40 or more hours per week.

Occupations Using Mobile PCs 40 or More Hours per Week - Busy Mobiles Profile Report

Occupations Using Mobile PCs 40 or More Hours per Week – Busy Mobiles Profile Report

This information is released from the Busy Mobiles Profile Report, a Technology User Profile solution from MetaFacts. It is based on recent survey-based research, reporting directly from a representative sample of actual users. The Busy Mobiles Profile Report is available for immediate purchase through the online store at the MetaFacts website – MetaFacts.com

Other findings in the MetaFacts Busy Mobiles Profile Report include:

  • How many busy Mobiles?
  • Who are these busy users?
  • The Most Busy Mobile PC Users are in Certain Occupations
  • What keeps the busiest so busy?
  • Who Owns the Busiest Mobile PCs?
  • What are the Attitudes of the Busiest?
  • What Kinds of Mobile PCs are Used the Most?
  • Locations Where the Busiest Mobile PCs are Used
  • Where the Busiest Stop to Shop
  • Electronics Used by the Busiest Mobile PC Households
  • Shopping List of the Busy Mobile PC Household

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.

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, Households, TUP 2008

Mobile Computer Users are Now in the Majority

Press Release – September 2008

Mobile Computer Users are Now in the Majority, according to MetaFacts Busy Mobiles Profile Report

The largest segment of busy mobiles are personally owned and desk-bound, overshadowing highly mobile corporate road warriors

Mobile PCs have moved into the majority, with 53% of computer-using adults using either a notebook or tablet PC, according to the Busy Mobiles Report from MetaFacts, Inc.

Busy Mobiles Profile Report

Busy Mobiles Profile Report

“Mobile PC users are very busy” said Dan Ness, Principal Analyst at MetaFacts. “Nearly 13 million adults use a notebook or tablet PC 40 or more hours per week, and 60% of these active users regularly use three or more PCs, moving between home, work, and publicly-owned PCs.”

The large-scale nationwide survey found that 44% of the mobile PCs used 40 or more hours per week are owned by households, 31% are owned by businesses with 1,000 or more employees, and 25% by small & medium businesses, education, and government. 

The survey also revealed that the busiest mobile PC users are very different than the least-busy mobile users, being uniquely tied to their PCs with instant messaging, streaming music, and maintaining their calendars. “The busiest mobile PC users rely on high-speed internet connections for a very wide range of PC activities, from day-to-day work to having fun,” said Ness.

The busiest mobile PCs are not as mobile as might be expected – 43% are used in only one location, 13% are used in two locations, and 44% are used in three or more locations.

“Mobile computing is a sport for the young,” said Dan Ness, Principal Analyst at MetaFacts. “Nearly one-third (31%) of the busiest mobile users are males age 18 to 34, almost a quarter (23%) are females age 18 to 34, and one-sixth (16%) are males age 35 to 44.”

Other findings in the Busy Mobiles Profile Report include:

  • Dell is strongest among busy mobiles and for Apple, it’s a strong segment
  • More than three-fourths (76%) of the busiest mobile PC users spend more time with their PC(s) than watching TV
  • Seven of 22 occupational groups use over half of the busiest mobile PCs
  • Busy Mobile PC Households are above average in their use of consumer electronics, and have above-average buying plans for additional High-Definition TVs (HDTV), digital video recorders, and even Digital-to-Analog Converter Boxes for older TVs

The Busy Mobiles Profile Report is based on surveys with over 10,000 American adults by telephone and online as part of the Technology User Profile 2008 Annual Edition study.

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

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2008

PC Hours Continue to Climb

News flash: even more recent updates to this information are available to subscribers to the full Technology User Profile service.

Where do you spend your waking hours?

For most Americans, looking at a computer screen is the growing answer.

More of Americans’ time is with their computers – both at home and in the workplace. On average, Americans spent 25.9 hours a week using their PCs in 2005, up from 24.5 hours a week two years earlier. Both home and workplace PC usage levels have continued to grow in the last two years.

Why is this important?

As Americans integrate computers even further into their lives, the implications are wide-ranging, from their ergonomics and health, to privacy and national security, and even social interaction and consumerism. Besides the PC, software, and Internet companies, it also impacts media such as TV and radio that chase the attention of Americans’ eyeballs.

The total number of hours Americans use computers has climbed to 6.5 billion hours per week in 2005, up from 4.8 billion hours in 2004 and 4.3 billion hours in 2003. This is significant, representing 1 out of 7 total hours in a week, up from 1 of 12 only two years prior. To put this further into perspective, this is 20% of all waking hours, up from 13% only two years prior.

In the workplace, some occupational groups use computers much more than others. It’s hardly a surprise that Computer-Related occupations lead all Americans in their use of work computers, with an average of 37.6 hours per week. Since this is nearly all of a standard 40-hour workweek, we have to wonder if they’re having their lunches at their desks. More likely they’re working more hours than average.

Employees in Accounting & Finance jobs also use computers more than most, at 35.2 hours per week on average. In their case, it’s about spreadsheets – lots of spreadsheets. 79% of these employees cite spreadsheets as a regular computer activity, compared with 36% of other PC users.

At the other end of the spectrum, some occupational groups use computers less often, at nearly half the rate of the busiest. Of the Construction/Labor employees that use a work computer, the average is 21 hours per week. This is only slightly higher than the lowest group, Education/Training, who stand at 20.6 hours per week. Evidently, instructors spend more time in front of the classroom instead of their computer.

There are numerous factors that explain why Americans continue to increase their PC usage. Like the adaptable Swiss Army knife, the PC can be used for a wide range of activities reasonably well. Meanwhile, function-specific products, although technically superior at their core tasks, fail to convince convenience-hungry Americans. For example, cell phones have higher penetration than PCs, although are still primarily used for communication, despite efforts to entice callers to expand their handset experience to play games, take pictures, and organize their lives. They even have to compete with the PC as a communication device. Only a small number of Americans, 14%, agree with the statement “I Would Rather Use a Telephone Than Email.”

Even though TV media continue to vie for American’s eyeballs, a large number of Americans aren’t fully convinced. Nearly a third, 31%, agree with the statement “I Spend More Time Using my Computer Than Watching TV” and 28% agree that “The Internet is a Big Part of My Home Entertainment.”

Although the primacy of the PC isn’t assured forever, Americans continue to find ways for their PCs to be a big and growing part of their lives. This is a good sign for the health of the computer industry.

Average Hours Using a PC Continues to Climb

Total Hours Americans Use PCs

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Filed under Consumer research, Households, Market Research, Statistics, Tech Market, Technology, Trends, TUP 2005