Industry notebooks – Windows dominate, MacBooks solid #2, few Chromebooks [MetaFAQs]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, November 10, 2020

Where do Chromebooks and MacBooks stand in the workplace? How far have they made inroads? Do Windows notebooks dominate in every industry? How does this vary by the employee’s vertical market? This MetaFAQs reports on the active use of a Windows notebook, Apple MacBook, or a Chromebook among employed adults by the major industry group of their employer.

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Key home PC trends [TUPdate]

Home PC Penetration

The home PC has been a central part of the American technology user’s world for years, and while remaining so for many, the home PC is slowly losing its primacy among some market segments.

Home PCs have been challenged by the emerging use of smartphones and tablets, not only among younger Americans. Older Americans have also rapidly adopted smartphones and are starting to discover how to use them well. Home PC makers, software developers, and service providers have worked hard to keep the home PC as a central device, or at least one that is included.

The home PC is not down and out – not by a long shot. The humble PC is in use by most online Americans. In 2020, 75% of online adults in the US actively used a home PC. From 2015 to 2019, this level was effectively flat at 80%.

Number of Home PCs is Shrinking

Home PCs, while widely used, are not as intensively used within American households as before. Online adults are using slightly fewer home PCs than in recent years. From 2015 through 2020, half of online Americans used only one home PC, with that number lowering slightly to match its levels of 2016.

In 2020, 26% of online adults used two or more home PCs. From 2015 through 2019, 28% to 32% of online adults used two or more home PCs.

Age of Home PC by User Age

If a smaller number of Americans are using a home PC and even using fewer home PCs, more Americans are using a newer home PC.

Continuing a trend held for most of the last eight years, younger adults continue to use the newest home PCs. Older Americans keep their home PCs longer.

Americans age 18-24 are using a home PC two years old on average. Meanwhile, users age 65+ are using a home PC 3.6 years old on average.

Major Home PC Activities are Age-Skewed

Home PCs are used differently by the young and old. That is especially true for the top 12 home PC activities, those regularly done.

Older adults are getting more use out of their home PCs than young adults are. All the major home PC activities are being used by a higher share of older than younger Americans, save one.

There is only one exception – watching videos/movies. The share is higher among younger adults than among older adults, although only slightly so.

Looking Ahead

While it may seem that losing younger adults spells the end of the home PC market, that is a bit of a stretch. There is much going on in the market and economy now that affects younger Americans in different ways than even slightly older ones. Employment status and educational status are in flux, strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and accommodations to minimize its impact. Younger adults have a lower employment rate than other age groups, and more importantly, a lower work-from-home rate. Many that had been employed were in occupations that were less supportive of working remotely. Furthermore, younger Americans are facing stronger economic challenges than in years past.

Meanwhile, somewhat older employed adults that work in occupations where they can work remotely are doing so. In many cases, working remotely is something they are doing for the first time. Among these active employed adults, home PCs are being pressed into service as work PCs. There has already been a long trend towards using home PCs for work-related activities. From our TUP 2020 survey results, it does appear that most employers are stepping up to provide employer-owned PCs to remote workers. It seems most likely that employees will continue to support their employers and themselves by using their own home-owned PCs in addition to their smartphones.

While increasingly being used for activities that had been primarily ones done on home PCs, smartphones are still not the preferred platform for certain key activities. Shoppers seem to want bigger screens as they consider their purchases. TV and video watchers also prefer bigger screens.

Meanwhile, tablets have not gained enough market strength to replace home PCs. Many notebook home PC users are not even using their notebooks for mobility, hardly leaving home with them. And this “buy mobility/use it like a desktop” trend has been in place well before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In short, home PCs are highly likely to have a place in American homes for years to come.

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.

Who are the tablet-first pioneers? [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, May 2, 2019

Will tablets go mainstream, so much so that they’re the first device consumers reach for? A persistent yet small group of Americans use their tablet more than a smartphone or PC. Are the rest missing something? Might this edge group grow?

The size of the tablet-first segment

Over the last five years, the share of connected adults using a tablet as their primary device grew and then shrunk.

This is based on results from five years of our TUP/Technology User Profile study, each wave with over 7,500 representative respondents in the US.

In our 2014 wave of TUP, we found that 5.6% of adults were using a tablet as their primary device – before a PC, mobile phone, or game console. In TUP 2016, the tablet-first rate had grown to 9.3%, or one in 11 online adults. By TUP 2018, this dropped to 7.5%, or nearer to one in 13 online adults.

What other devices do they use?

Tablet-first users may choose to first use their Tablet, yet most have other devices to choose from. Nearly two-thirds of tablet-first users (62%) regularly use a PC, and almost three-fourths (74%) regularly use a Smartphone. They have other mobile devices, such as a Notebook (35%) or Desktop (47%).

Growing tablet reliance among the stalwart tablet-first

Most tablet-first users have more devices than their tablet – 94% have 2 or more. Seventy-five percent have 3 or more connected devices they regularly use.

Over the last three years, this number has shrunk somewhat. While in 2016 tablet-first users used an average of 4.3 connected devices, this number has dropped to 3.8.

What are these tablet-first tablets being used for?

Tablet-first users fully enjoy them. The users of Tablets as their primary device are busy with their tablets, checking email, shopping, having fun, and social networking. Over half of adults using a tablet as their primary device regularly use it for a wide range of activities. While checking personal email ranks at the top, shopping is nearly as strong.

What’s notably absent from the list of major activities are more-intensive productivity or graphical activities such as creating presentations. Most of the activities so far are more passive than actively creative.

That may seem odd to Apple-watchers, since much of the iPad’s advertising and development has featured the Apple Pencil for drawing and sketching, as well as creative video apps. Samsung has similarly touted their S-Pen for their Galaxy Tabs. It looks like the installed base hasn’t quite caught the creative bug, since these are relatively recent additions and emphases. Or, more likely, it’s harder to inspire the less-creative to start creating than it is to attract creative types.

Looking ahead

I don’t expect the tablet-first segment to grow beyond being a small group. Size is a key dimension affecting the future of tablets. As smartphones get larger, tablets will continue to be affected. The largest smartphones are encroaching on the size of the smallest tablets. Also, as companies such as Apple position tablets as computers, and those like HP and Dell create 2-in-1 and convertible designs, there’s likely to be further user confusion.

Tablet-first users are functioning well with a broad collection of devices, so it seems unlikely that one single device will capture their hearts and fingers.

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.

Working women worldwide have broad technology usage [MetaFAQs]

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

Women in nearly every employment role are using a broad mixture of technology devices, from PCs to Smartphones, Printers, and Tablets. The strongest users of connected devices are among women employed in marketing, information technology, and finance or accounting roles.

This is based on the results of the multinational TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 survey, with 3,824 online female adults employed outside the home in the US, UK, Germany, China, and India.

About TUPdates

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from multiple waves of TUP (Technology User Profile), including the 2018 edition which is TUP’s 36th continuous wave.

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.