How and where PCs and tablets are used differently than smartphones [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, January 11, 2019

People love their smartphones and find more to do with them than PCs or tablets. Around the world, there are few activities done with PCs as regularly as are done with smartphones. Furthermore, there are no activities done more so on tablets than on either smartphones or PCs. Usage profiles vary somewhat by country. Online adults in the U.S. use their connected devices differently than users in many other countries.

These findings are based on the TUP/Technology User Profile 2018 study of 14,273 online adults in the US, UK, Germany, India, and China. Of the more-than 70 activities in the TUP survey tied to each device, we identified those with the widest range of regular use across devices – defined as the difference between the maximum and minimum usage level between smartphone, PC, and tablet users.

The versatility of smartphones is shown by how much more often they’re the device of choice for nearly every type of activity, from shopping to social networking and fun. The range of activity use is as high as 65% – in the case of making and receiving personal phone calls.

Smartphones are being used the most widely for device-unique activities. The four major activities for smartphones – personal phone calls, taking pictures, text messaging, and storing one’s contacts – are infrequently done on a PC or sablet. Although the newest tablets have cameras that approach the quality of those on smartphones, less than a quarter (22%) are being used to take pictures. Also, despite being able to run apps such as WhatsApp or WeChat on Tablets or PCs, phone calls are primarily on smartphones, even while personal video calls have made inroads on non-phone devices.

PCs are mostly being used for email (personal or work), online shopping (bigger screens entice buyers), and online banking. Tablets are mostly being used for social networking and music listening.

There is a small amount of crossover of activity usage across devices. Two of the major activities for smartphones are also leading ones on tablets – adding photos to social media and commenting on other’s images or comments.

American adults use their devices somewhat differently than users in other countries. In addition to personal and work email, PCs are used more often than smartphones or tablets for shopping, banking, finances/accounting, and writing.

Tablets are being used more like PCs than smartphones. The major activities for tablets, although with smaller percentages than PCs, are also among the major activities for PCs. Also, in the US, UK, and Germany, tablets are used more often than either PCs or smartphones for reading a book and making small purchases in person, such as in a coffee shop.

Where PCs dominate

Smartphones aren’t the only connected device users actively use. There are many activities used at a higher rate on PCs than on smartphones are tablets. Sending and checking both personal and work email are high on the list across all of the countries surveyed except for India. Also, writing and managing text documents is a PC-preferred activity except in India. In Germany, writing documents is an especially PC-dominant activity. Also, activities relating to using a printer are strongest when using a PC.

Looking ahead

Habits change slowly. Not only do people find effective ways to use connected devices to do what they want, they also show inertia when slowly moving those activities to a different device. Even those users who have multiple devices continue to use the types of devices they had previously for some time before fully embracing a type of device new to them.

Furthermore, there isn’t a single “silver bullet” device that’s preferred for all activities. For some activities, such as reading a book, shopping, or watching television, having a larger display helps. For other activities, such as receiving phone calls or texting, convenience and mobility are key.

We don’t expect the majority of users to concentrate all of their activities on a single device in the near future. Instead, the multi-device experience will continue. PCs may continue to lose their dominance for the many activities they still dominate. Dedicated PC users may just move more of their attention to tablets, especially those focused on passive activities such as social networking or television watching.

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.

How new are home notebooks? [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, December 13, 2018

Home consumers are moving to newer Notebook PCs, although in some countries, older ones get used longer. Getting optimum value from one’s technology investment is a laudable goal, although at odds with having the latest and greatest.

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Getting things done – The primary device from PCs to smartphones [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, March 28, 2020

Getting things done. Isn’t it one of the main explanations we offer when we’re buying our tech devices?

While much of actual tech device usage is about entertainment, communication, and shopping, productivity has its solid place in everyday use.

Whether using a PC, smartphone, tablet, or some combination, the majority of connected adults turn to their devices for everything from scheduling appointments to calling on a voice assistant. Based on our TUP/Technology User Profile 2017 US survey wave, 88% of connected adults regularly use one of their connected devices for any of a range of productivity activities.

Mobility is the key to productivity activities

Having one’s device handy is key for productivity-oriented people. The majority of productivity activities are regularly done using a mobile device – a notebook, tablet, or mobile phone. This focus on mobility has remained relatively constant over the last few years, representing over two-thirds of the primary productivity devices.

PCs as dominant device type for productivity

Americans use a PC of some kind for most of their productivity activities. This majority position has withered over the last two years, declining slightly from 54% and 55% of adults to the 51% mark in 2017.

During that same time period, more adults have made the switch from basic cell phones to Smartphones. This has helped mobile phones to increase their share as the favored productivity device, rising to second-place with 41% of adults.

Smartphone surpass desktops as a preference for productivity

Diving more deeply into the TUP data, and looking at connected devices in a more detailed view, smartphones emerge as the major productivity device. Even looking at desktops versus smartphones by combining tower desktops with all-in-one desktops, the year 2017 marks the first time that smartphones outnumber desktops as the preferred productivity device. In 2016, TUP showed that 37% of the primary productivity devices are desktops to 34% for smartphones. In 2017, this shifted to 33% desktops and 39% smartphones.

Voice assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, are one of the major productivity activities which have grown in usage, especially on smartphones. For those users who primarily use a smartphone for most of their productivity, 57% use a voice assistant at least monthly, a level which is 44% higher than the national average. They’re also 30% or more higher than average to be using their smartphone to manage tasks/to-do items, their personal or work calendar, store their contacts, and to save and play voice memos.

Notebooks, on the other hand, are making a gradual retreat as the productivity device of choice. These still stand out, however, for being above average for certain activities among those who favor their notebooks for productivity. Several productivity activities which are done on notebooks at 25% or more above average: collaborating on work or personal files, finances/accounting, write/manage text/notes/documents, download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and adblocking software. Yes, the productivity-oriented are more likely than average to block ads and get back to work.

For productivity-primary desktop PCs, however, only two productivity activities stand out above average in their regular use: download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and adblocking software. Although these two activities do reduce interruptions, they aren’t particularly productive. This indicates that desktops are likely to continue their slide from primacy for productivity. They’ll either be consigned to other types of activities or be overtaken by notebooks or tablets.

Looking ahead

Although habits change slowly, they do change. Even as users move between multiple devices, it takes time for them to migrate their behaviors from one way of doing things to another. Apps that have versions that support platforms can ease the user’s migration between devices. By simultaneously supporting multiple platforms, the app makers can also make it easier for users to get things done among their own collection of devices, further supporting the user’s own choices.

About TUPdates

These results are based on results of the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile survey, from 2015 through 2017.

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.

Pocket full of fun – entertainment activities [MetaFAQs]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, February 1, 2018

Which is more fun – the one-trick-pony device that does one fun thing well, or the device you can use for many types of entertainment?

In India, the most-preferred connected device for fun is a smartphone or a basic feature phone. Connected adults in India find more ways than those in other countries to entertain themselves with their mobile phones. Their breadth of entertainment activities is greater than with their PCs or tablets.

This is based on our most recent wave of research – the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2017 edition.

Unlike connected adults around the world in other countries, in India, smartphones are used for a unique set of entertainment activities.

More than half of India’s connected adults use their Smartphones for music and movies. Watching videos/movies and listening to music on one’s smartphone are regular activities at more than a third higher share of connected adults.

In contrast, when Germans use their connected devices for entertainment activities, they prefer their PCs. And when they use their PCs for entertainment, most Germans use a PC to play a game (39% of connected adults), hobbies (38%), and to watch videos/movies (37%). Very practical, those Germans, to use the larger screens of PCs.

Tablets have yet to make their way as being the most-entertaining connected device. Although tablets are growing in regular use throughout the world, only in the US and UK do they account for more than one-tenth of the preferred entertainment device.

Looking ahead

Entertainment continues to remain one of the reasons why people use connected devices. As both wired and wireless networks continue to expand their speed, this has made for more enjoyable experiences, especially for bandwidth-hogging activities such as watching movies or television. Similarly, as wireless carriers such as T-Mobile in the U.S. have removed or reduced data caps, this has reduced barriers for many customers.

Consequently, these types of entertainment activities have reached a broader swath of consumers. Consumers continue to be the leading innovators in finding ways to get to the content they want, meaning they’ll consider moving beyond the devices they’re using today.

Source

This MetaFAQs is based on the TUP/Technology User Profile 2017 survey.

About MetaFAQs

MetaFAQs are answers to frequently asked questions about technology users. 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.

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.

How many years do consumers use their notebook PCs? [MetaFAQs]

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

How many years do consumers use their Notebook PCs? Based on our MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile 2017 survey, the average is 3.1 years around the world. In the US, the average is a full half-year newer, at 2.6 years.

MetaFacts TUP 2017 - Age of Laptops by Country
Among the world’s leading economies, Germans use their notebooks PCs for longer than Americans or Brits. Among Germans, nearly one in four (24%) of actively used notebooks were acquired in 2012 or earlier, more than 4.5 years old. By contrast, in the US and UK, only 15% or fewer of laptops are this old.

Those who watch consumer buying patterns and recycling initiatives and actions may not be surprised at this. Americans tend towards buying new replacements for many products. Germans are known for buying goods with a focus on long-term use as well as limiting environmental impacts.

About MetaFAQs

This MetaFAQs is based on TUP/Technology User Profile 2017 survey.

MetaFAQs are answers to frequently asked questions about technology users. 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.

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.

Inexorable device trends – beyond the niche, fad, and fizzle [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, March 10, 2017

It can be exciting to see the hockey-stick charts, with everything up and to the right. It’s important to put the numbers into context, though, through a more grounded analysis of the active installed base. Yes, Apple’s long-climb into broader use of their triumvirate is substantial, Smartphones are quickly replacing basic cell phones, and PCs and printers persist. Their market size confirms their importance.

We, humans, are wired to notice a change. Our very eyes send more information about motion than the background. While life-saving should tigers head our way, this capability can be our undoing if we miss gradual changes, like the slithering snake in the grass creeping towards us. Watching an installed base of technology has some parallels. For some, it can seem as if nothing is really changing even while important shifts are taking place.

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Device primacy and OS – What we hold near [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, January 18, 2017

Primacy. The first device you reach for, the one you stay near, the one you rely on. You might think that it’s the smartphone, and that’s correct for many, but not all. For many activities and market segments, PCs and tablets dominate. A user’s activity focus affects which devices they choose most often, as does their operating system collection, among other factors.

metafacts-device-primacy-primary-secondary-device-2017-01-18_17-08-39
Continue reading “Device primacy and OS – What we hold near [TUPdate]”
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