Samsung – American customer profile [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, February 23, 2020

Samsung has a strong number-two market position in the US, especially with smartphones, and has a distinctive customer profile from market leader Apple. This is based on our MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2019 survey and prior waves.

Samsung for the not-so-young

Samsung’s penetration is strongest among age 35-54, mostly spanning Generation X. One third or more of online adults this age are using at least one Samsung connected device: a phone, tablet, or PC. Of these devices, Samsung’s smartphones are in the most solid position. More than one in four online Americans use a Samsung smartphone, with Samsung’s highest penetration by age group at 28% of online Americans age 45 to 54.

The market penetration of Samsung’s tablets and PCs is among less than one in 10 Americans.

Samsung missing the young Americans

Samsung’s smartphones have yet to attract or dominate the most youthful American adults, which is Apple’s strongest suit. 39% of Apple’s iPhones are in American adults age 18 to 34, only 30% of Samsung’s are. Samsung is below the total national average in this respect, too, which is 35%.

Samsung for the not-so-busy

Samsung’s market penetration for its smartphones has declined among Americans using the greatest number of connected devices. Between 2018 and 2019, Samsung’s share dropped by 3 or more percentage points among users with 2, 3, 4, or 6 connected devices (phones, PCs, tablets, or game consoles). The only segment where Samsung gained is among those few Americans who only use one connected device.

Samsung’s strong, yet sagging share

Samsung has lost ground between 2017 and 2019, with its overall market penetration dropping or staying flat for its phones, tablets, and PCs. In the US, Samsung’s overall penetration has shrunk from 30% in 2019 and 34% in 2018 to 33% in 2017. The largest decline was in Samsung’s tablet penetration, which dropped nearly in half, from 11% in 2018 to 6% in 2019. This is due in part to Apple’s dominant market position with iPads. It is also a general retrenchment for tablets when consumers have reduced the breadth of their tech device collection.

Samsung’s overall decline has been similar in China. In Germany, however, Samsung has effectively maintained its leading position.

Not only handsets

Smartphone subscribers choose more than a handset brand, also selecting their carrier. Verizon currently has the largest number of American subscribers, with 30% of online adults using Verizon’s service with any smartphone brand. Verizon is followed by AT&T with 24%, T-Mobile with 13%, and Sprint with 8%. Among all these major US carriers, Apple’s iPhones dominate among their subscribers. Samsung is in a strong number-two position. Samsung’s share is three-fourths of Apple’s share with T-Mobile, one-half of Apple’s share on Verizon and Sprint, and one-third on AT&T.

Looking ahead

As the deployment of 5G makes its shaky rollout across the US, handset makers and carriers alike will need to tread lightly and deliberately. Those emphasizing 5G connections for subscribers without ample supporting coverage will lead to disappointment. On the other hand, those not incorporating 5G into their handsets run the customers’ risk of churning to other brands or carriers.

Samsung’s recent (February 2020) release of S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra smartphones emphasized their cameras and ability to capture and share high-resolution images and videos. However, users without a higher-speed connection or an unlimited data plan are likely to have difficulty fully enjoying these capabilities. These phones include a MicroSD card slot, which will help address this issue to some degree.

About TUPdates

TUPdates feature analysis of current or essential technology topics. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual. TUPdates may also include results from previous waves of TUP.

Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.

On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.

Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.

Watching the Watches – Smartwatches and Fitness Bands [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, December 19, 2019

Smartwatch and fitness band penetration tapers to 2016 levels

The race for the wrist has settled into a larger-than-niche and less-than-majority position. Over the last three years, the share of online Americans using at least one smartwatch has grown from one in six to one in five, only to settle back to the one in six level. This is based on TUP/Technology User Profile 2019 survey of 8,060 online adults in the US, and from the prior three annual waves.

Continue reading “Watching the Watches – Smartwatches and Fitness Bands [TUPdate]”
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Multi OS jugglers – finger foibles [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, May 30, 2019

Finger foibles? Muscle memory? Most of us have done it – found our fingers fumbling for a key that isn’t on this keyboard, tapping a screen that’s not touch-sensitive, or expecting some function that’s not available on the device we’re using. Juggling devices across multiple operating system ecosystems can reveal our learned shortcuts and ingrained habits. And, a multi-OS experience affects most of us. More than two-thirds (69%) of online adults use two or more of the major operating systems – Windows, Android, iOS, or MacOS. Put another way, less than a third of online Americans use only one OS.

Who are these focused users who have chosen to stay within a single OS ecosystem, and how numerous are they? And, who are the flexible cross-platform savants who find a way to manage moving betwixt and between their collection of devices and ecosystems?

Who has the fanboys?

Microsoft Windows can rightly claim that they have the largest active base of dedicated fans. Over half (53%) of American adults who use a single OS are using Windows. As dedicated as they are, this group is relatively small, made up of only one in six (17%) online American adults.

This is based on TUP/Technology User Profile 2018, conducted among 7,521 online adults.

Those only using Apple iOS are fewer in number. Among single-OS users, they number just over one-fourth (28%). This is less than one in ten American adults, at 9%.

Even smaller is the hardy band of Android-only users, at one-sixth (17%) of single-US users and 5% of American adults.

What do the the flexible use?

Among the 69% of online American adults that use multiple OS ecosystems, Microsoft Windows is the most prevalent, with over half (57%) of online adults, and 83% of those who use more than one OS. So, anyone hoping to reach a broader market needs to seriously include Windows in their target platforms.

Those using Apple iOS or Google Android and nearly anything else are nearly equal in number. Just over half (53%) of those using multiple platforms are using Google Android, and slightly under half (48%) are using Apple iOS devices.

Which OS has the highest fan concentration?

If it’s not enough to have the greatest number of dedicated fans, their concentration matters. Microsoft Windows has the highest share of its users that are solely focused on devices with the OS ecosystem. Almost one fourth (23%) of Windows users only use Windows devices. Apple’s iOS has nearly the same level of fandom. Twenty-one percent of iOS users only use iOS devices, whether iPhones or iPads. Android has the lowest level of concentration, with only 13% that only use Android devices.

Who are the fanboys and flexible?

At first glance, its notable that the single-OS users are older than multi-OS jugglers. The median age of a single-US user is 50 years and that of a multi-OS user is 41. This difference is supported by the dominance of Windows PC users and Android Smartphone/Tablet users – older than their multi-OS counterparts. The median age of Windows-only users is 55, a baker’s dozen more years older than the median age of 42 for those using Windows along with any other major OS.

Are platforms used differently?

The smartphone is the device of choice for nearly every type activity by multiple-OS users and single-OS users, with a few exceptions. Those who use Windows as their single OS primarily use a tower desktop for most of their activities. Also, those using multiple operating systems choose a tower desktop for their cloud storage/sharing activities.

Looking ahead

Although there are cross-platform apps that span OS ecosystems, many of them behave differently from platform to platform. Even small differences stymie users who are looking for a smooth experience across their devices, and especially doesn’t help those with a strong finger memory. Developers face a perennial Procrustean dilemma – either uniquely optimizing for each platform or offering an identical, if somehow substandard, experience.

High cross-platform compatibility is the nearest thing to the elusive “killer app” or “silver bullet”. OS ecosystems will be helped mostly by apps that offer enough functionality to entice users, yet not quite enough compatibility to lose the ecosystem’s unique cachet.

About TUPdates

TUPdates feature analysis of current or essential technology topics. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual. TUPdates may also include results from previous waves of TUP.

Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.

On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.

Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.

Apple, Google, Microsoft – paths of expansion and contraction [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, May 8, 2019

There are many ways to serve technology users, and each family of operating systems – Apple’s, Google’s, and Microsoft – have expanded in different ways. While Windows-driven products are being actively used by nearly three-fourths (73%) of U.S. online adults, Apple MacOS and iOS devices and Google Android devices are each being used by half.

Device penetration by ecosystem

This is based on the results of our TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 and 2017 surveys, with sample sizes of 14,273 and 13,572, respectively, with 7,886 in the US.

Each OS family leads in their own way. Apple has more than 10% of Americans using one of five types of devices: Smartphone, Tablet, PC (Macs), and a TV set top box and service, or watch. Google Android/Chrome OS has a different set of five types, with speakers stronger than Apple and PCs weaker than any other. Microsoft Windows only has 10% or more of Americans using one of two categories: PC or Tablet.

Penetration growth for Apple

While market penetration is one important measure, even more telling is active device quantity. The average number of actively used devices has shifted in the US as well as in other major markets. Between 2017 and 2018, the average number of Apple devices in active use rose from 2.2 to 2.3 in the US, 2.0 to 2.1 in China, and 1.6 to 2.0 in India. Meanwhile, Windows use has declined across all markets surveyed.

Apple stabilizes in the US

Netting together the various Apple OS product categories, Apple’s footprint in the US did not change between 2017 and 2018. Growth within that base has been with a broader adoption of Apple TV. In India, Apple’s penetration has risen markedly, reaching 45% of online adults in India. Most of the growth has come from two strongly accepted products: Apple TV and Apple Watch.

Apple’s expansion in India

Looking ahead

We’re likely to see a further fragmented world, with Apple focusing primarily on breadth and Google on initial penetration. Apple will continue to focus on deepening their relationships with their customers while Google will continue its conquest for new customers. Apple’s direction will be one of expanding services and commensurate revenue streams, serving their unique customer base more deeply. Meanwhile, Google’s direction will be mostly about supporting any devices or services that will help them expand their data acquisition and advertising businesses. Apple’s expanded emphasis on privacy and security will play well with their existing customers and more importantly may yet attract users further away from the Google ecosystem. Beyond the speeds and feeds of the latest gadget, these softer issues of privacy and security are likely to help Apple more than Google.

About TUPdates

TUPdates feature analysis of current or essential technology topics. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual. TUPdates may also include results from previous waves of TUP.

Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.

On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.

Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.

Digital publication readership – to be saved by Apple News+? [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, April 5, 2019

Magazine and newspaper writers envision a world of digitally-connected readers hanging on their every word. Despite the ubiquity of connected devices, from smartphones and PCs to tablets, that’s not currently the case. Fewer than half of online adults regularly read a magazine, newspaper, or periodical using any one of these connected devices. Also, while Apple’s customers are more active digital readers than most, Apple’s News+ service is being launched into a chilling headwind. This is based on results from our TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 survey of 14,273 adults across five countries.

News readership varies by country – a single non-universal choice

Only in India and China do the majority of online adults regularly use any of their devices to read periodicals. In the US, UK, and Germany, this rate is nearer to four-tenths of online adults.

Active readers are appearing to favor convenience over multi-device accessibility. Across the countries surveyed, nearly two-thirds of active digital readers do so with whichever of their devices is their primary device.

Also, it’s not as if even active readers do their reading across multiple types of devices. Instead, the net number of active readers is close to the sum of readers using their PC, tablet, or smartphone.

No single device stands out universally as the digital publication reading favorite. PCs are a favored reading device in the US, UK, and Germany. In China and India, slightly more choose smartphones over PCs.

The image of magazine readers sprawling on their couches, kicking back with their iPads to catch up on a beautifully graphical long read, only represents a small part of the market. Tablet news-reading is only done by a few. Across the five countries surveyed, only around one in ten online adults use a tablet for such reading.

Part of this single preferred-device approach may be due to the inconsistencies between publications across platforms. While some publications design for a large-screen experience, others aim for the smaller screens of a smartphone. Yet others haven’t seemed to do much aiming or development, seemingly settling with exporting PDFs of their printed pages.

Using connected devices to read subscriptions has sagged in the last year. Across all the countries surveyed, regular readership rates have dropped. The reduction has been most pronounced in India and China, dropping from 85% of online adults to 71% in India, and 65% to 53% in China.

One service to bind them all?

Service such as Apple’s recently announced Apple News + may help to change that. Making subscribing easier through a simplified app and bundled price may just raise the number of active digital readers, if not also subscription rates. Because Apple’s service was launched to only run on an iOS or MacOS devices, this a subset of the entire market. However, this subset is sizable. As of mid-2018, TUP finds that Apple has 100.3 million adults in the US actively are using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, which is 46% of all online US adults. This rate is similar among online adults in China (50%), and lower in the UK (44%), India (35%), and Germany (23%).

Apple’s customers are above-active readers. Among Apple’s customers, there is a higher rate of actively reading digital publications than among the general population. Half (50%) of users of any Apple iOS or MacOS device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac) in the US regularly use a connected device to read digital publications. Across the UK, Germany, China, and India, the pattern is the same: more of Apple’s users are active digital readers.

Looking ahead

Services like Apple News+ will likely be good for Apple and moreover good for Apple’s customers. Since Apple’s customers are already above-average readers, we expect subscriptions to be strong. In addition to the revenue flow to Apple and publishers, it could help deepen the connection and loyalty Apple’s users have with its other offerings – services and devices alike.

On first glance, services like Apple News+ may not seem attractive to publishers. If they view their TAM as only around half to a quarter of online users (Apple’s current foot print is 50% in China, 46% in the US, 44% in the UK, 35% in India, and 23% in Germany) this might seem like a glass-half-empty approach. Were Apple enable Apple News+ to more platforms beyond iOS and MacOS, the next-largest active-reader platforms are Windows PCs and Android smartphones. While this would likely entice more publishers, it might threaten Apple’s exclusive experience within its platforms. Also, for these platforms, Apple may need to make extra efforts to fulfill its promise of subscriber privacy.

However, to the extent publishers consider such a service as bonus readership, this may entice them and others to join. Apple’s customer base continues to have a higher than average socioeconomic profile.

And, as Apple continues to roll out additional subscription services such as movies and TV, many customers will likely expand and deepen their connections and loyalty to Apple. Also, we expect more readers to return to reading as they discover the digital experience to be more enjoyable and straightforward.

About TUPdates

TUPdates feature analysis of current or essential technology topics. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual. TUPdates may also include results from previous waves of TUP.

Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.

On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.

Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.

Apple & Samsung lead in multi-device loyalty [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, November 29, 2018

Apple and Samsung have the highest share of their users actively using two or more of their devices.

This is based on the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 survey results. Among online adults in the US, more of Apple’s and Samsung’s users have two or more of the brand’s devices than only use one of their devices.

Continue reading “Apple & Samsung lead in multi-device loyalty [TUPdate]”
Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.

Are tablets and computers being used the same? [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, November 14, 2018

Is an iPad a computer? Is a Microsoft Surface a tablet? What about Chromebooks – how do they fit into the user’s uses? The major tech marketers are working to shift perceptions, such as Apple’s positioning of the iPad as a computer. Even though perceptions do shift buying decisions, user innovation and inertia are a force to reckon with. Many users have already pioneered ways to use their devices. We went straight to the users to see if they’re using tablets and notebooks the same, using iPads differently from Android tablets, and Windows notebooks from Chromebooks. Our basic hypothesis is that perceived differences, if substantial, can be confirmed by measuring user behavior.

Top Activities for New Home Tablets

iPads are more useful – based on users doing more with them. A higher share of users of recently-acquired home-owned tablets utilizes their Apple iPads for more of the major tablet activities than users of new Windows tablets or new home Android tablets. This is based on results from the MetaFacts TUP 2018 survey, conducted among 14,273 respondents across the US, UK, Germany, India, and China.

Continue reading “Are tablets and computers being used the same? [TUPdate]”
Usage guidelines: This document may be freely shared within and outside your organization in its entirety and unaltered. To share or quote excerpts, please contact MetaFacts.