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23.5 million online Americans age 18-34 don’t use a social network. 6.8 million cite privacy concerns. Reported in MetaFacts TUP survey

Is privacy a big concern among younger non-social networkers?

A MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, MetaFacts Principal Analyst

Privacy concerns are a strong deterrent to future Facebook growth, even among the age 18-34 segment.

The younger adult segment has a high penetration rate, with 63% regularly using a social networking site. While the maximum likely penetration rate is the subject of other MetaFacts saturation rate research, continued penetration only becomes more and more difficult from such a high base.

Of the 23.5 million Americans age 18-34 not networked, 29% agree or strongly agree with the statement: “I do not use a community/social networking group because I am concerned about my privacy”.

Agreement is even stronger among older adults.Chart: Privacy concern by age group

Recent news about the compromised security of private information is likely to further increase pervasive privacy concerns. When even highly-guarded information of governments and corporations is released publicly through organizations such as WikiLeaks, consumer trust can be further shaken in the effectiveness of the privacy controls of social networks.

At the same time, the FTC’s Do-Not-Track proposal offers a governmental approach to supporting and rebuilding consumer trust online. Although considered heavy-handed by many advertisers, it reflects a percolating problem already evident by the use of adblockers, spam controls, and very low click rates.

With nearly 30 years of watching and surveying technology consumers, answers to an attitudinal agreement scale questions don’t tell the whole story. Many American consumers are fickle and have short memories. Still, the answers are very high among an otherwise technically-active and accepting segment. Fear of the unknown can outweigh the desire for connection, entertainment and other benefits enjoyed by current social networkers.

Social networking sites Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others already have plenty of challenges retaining the interest and patronage of their current members. With privacy and other concerns being expressed so strongly even among generally open younger Americans, MetaFacts expects the dampening effect to continue for years. Both those already networked and those not yet connected are thinking twice about their choice of “friends.”

Source

MetaFacts Technology User Profile Overview Edition – report available by contacting MetaFacts. View findings in 25 pages of executive summary analysis, 200+ pages of charts and graphs, all supported by 95+ pages of detailed tables. The complete, 300+ page report is delivered to you electronically or as hard copy. This edition is for the U.S. based on the 2010 wave of Technology User Profile gathered among a scrupulously selected set of representative respondents, surveyed both online and offline.

To see other research coverage of communication products and activities – from smartphones to feature phones, desktops to notebooks, social networking, chat, and webcams – see the other communication-oriented questions TUP covers on www.technologyuser.com.

About TUPdates

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Smartphones, Netbooks, Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Moms and Dads, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry trends and facts. These TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world. Interested technology professionals can sign up at http://technologyuser.com/contact/ for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a 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 a primary market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information about the syndicated research service, analysis tools, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts or call 1-760-635-4300.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Mobile Phones, Poll, Technology User Overview Report, TUP 2010, TUPdate

Convenience is the key for households that have at least one Apple Home PC

Households with at least one Apple PC have convenience items from single billing by using one service for phone, TV and internet to utilizing Video on Demand and conferencing with Webcam.
  • One service for phone, TV and internet (42%)
  • Webcam for conferencing (37%)
  • Video on Demand (34%)

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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 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 or www.metafacts.com

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, TUP 2008

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

9.2%

Use an online dating service (e.g. Match.com)

7.4%

Create web pages (web publishing)

6.6%

Use a community/social networking group (e.g. Friendster, LinkedIn, Ryze)

5.7%

Write your own blog/online journal (e.g. MySpace, blogspot)

5.3%

Make voice telephone calls/voice chats over the Internet (VoIP)

4.5%

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