Smart displays barely visible [MetaFAQs]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, December 7, 2020

Are smart displays making any headway?

With videoconferencing entering the mainstream and getting a recent boost during pandemic stay-at-home orders, there was a possibility that smart displays would get broad market acceptance. Based on our most recent research results in TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, market penetration is still quite small.

Meanwhile, our other survey results show video calls and group meetings have wide acceptance using smartphones and PCs and platforms such as Zoom and Webex.

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Smartphone activities by watch OS [TUPdate]

The smartphone-smartwatch Connection

Smartwatches offer the promise to extend the user’s experiences. Most are tightly coupled with a smartphone and its ecosystem. We looked into whether smartwatch users’ behaviors are any different, whether they have an iPhone or Android smartphone. Drilling into the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2020 results showed there is a gap between OS and between countries.

iPhones for Communication

Apple Watch users use their iPhones more so than Android smartphone users focus most on communication activities. Text messaging, phone calls, and video calling stand out stronger across the four countries surveyed. Most of these activities are integrated to some degree with Apple Watch, except for video calls since the Apple Watch does not include a video camera (at least not currently).

Androids for Fun and Words

Android smartphone users with Android Wear are very distinctive from the iPhone/Apple Watch crowd in their behavior. Many of their uniquely-strong smartphone activities are centered around entertainment, from playing games to reading, commenting on blogs, to writing reviews.

Looking ahead

Apple has continued to dominate the active installed base of smartwatches. Apple continues to encourage its customers to expand their use of Apple products and services with smoother integrations both inside and outside of their ecosystem. To the extent Google Wear OS smartwatch makers can focus on their customer’s behaviors and needs, they may offer stronger competition to Apple. Even better, such a user-based approach might spark the development of many types of new successful wearables.

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.

Worse yet for both fitness bands and smartwatches – it’s not as if each are cannibalizing the other. Use of either type of device is also down, dropping from a high of 33% in 2016 to 27% in 2019.
The market has tapered even while smartwatch makers continue to add capabilities well beyond timekeeping and step-counting. Also, it’s happening even as watch-wearers begin to actively use the new capabilities – broadening their use of smartwatches to more activities. Some of the top smartwatch activities include seeing who’s calling before taking a call through or on their smartwatch, recording their heart rates, checking current weather, or using their smartwatch in a store to check products or prices. Convenience is at hand.

Younger adults embrace wearables more than older Americans

Younger Americans have adopted Smart watches and other wearables more strongly than older Americans.

Just over half of online Americans age 18 to 34 use at least one Bluetooth headset, smartwatch, or fitness band. In stark contrast, just less than one in five (19%) online Americans age 65 or higher use any of these wearables. Among this set, fitness bands have the highest penetration, on the wrists of one in nine (11%).
Hearables are an important category to track. In addition to sales by watchmakers, beneficiaries include digital media services (specifically music), cellular carriers, and the full ecosystem of e-wallet payments and retailers.

All along the watch tower

Apple’s penetration towers head and shoulders above Wear OS/Android Wear and other smartwatches. With nearly two-thirds (63%) of smartwatch users using at least one Apple Smart Watch, Apple has double the active usage rate of every other type of Wear OS/Android Wear smartwatch. Apple’s continued model refresh has helped it keep the top spot as much as miscues by Google and other Wear OS smartwatch makers has hurt them. Apple has arguably kept the smartwatch category alive as both smartwatches and fitness bands have lost their luster.

Apple’s broad footprint

Apple is concinnating its offerings through a range of devices and supporting services both free and paid. This has especially helped with the adoption of its most-personal products such as Apple Watch. Apple’s Watch customers use many other Apple products. In the US, users of Apple Watch actively use an average of 3.2 Apple products. The collection among Apple Watch users varies by age, with younger adults having relatively higher penetration of Apple Macs and AirPods, and older adults having greater iPad and Apple TV use. Higher iPad use helps bolster the average number of Apple products to 3.4 and more among adults 45 and over.
Apple continues to walk the fine line of designing products open enough to play well with other ecosystems, while also reserving some benefits to those who stay within the Apple family.

Looking ahead

The thousands of respondents we surveyed in July and August 2019 reported the strongest purchase plans for Apple Watch smartwatches among those planning any smartwatch, higher than for Wear OS/Android Wear or other smartwatches. This is on track with recent market penetration trends. Intentions for purchasing fitness trackers are modest, also in line with withering active usage rates.

Shortly after we conducted the TUP/Technology User Profile 2019 wave, Apple released its newest Apple Watch 5 line. Also, Google tendered an offer to acquire FitBit. In our privacy surveys earlier this year, online Americans rated Google 2nd in distrust after Facebook – reportedly another bidder for FitBit. Consumers distrust both companies with their privacy and personal data, and this sentiment is among the overall population of online Americans as well as their own customers. I expect to see further entrenchment among both Google Android and Apple users, as each expands its footprint. Current Apple or Apple-positive users will be the first to abandon a Google FitBit platform to protect their privacy and personal health data. Many will consider Apple Watch more seriously. Consumers deeply engaged with the Google ecosystem with Android smartphones are less likely to leave FitBit over privacy concerns. We’ll be watching.

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.