Home printing trends – US 2019 [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, November 7, 2019

Overview

Printing at home has changed in recent years. Printer manufacturers continue to innovate in order to compete and encourage broad active printer use.

This TUPdate looks at the major trends in home printing in the US, and examines how users have changed in both what they print and their volume of printing. Also, it examines printing trends with respect to the broadened use of mobile devices. Further, it looks into whether younger adults print more or less than older ones, and whether presence of children makes a difference.

The source for this analysis is MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile, with results from waves 2015 through 2019, all based on surveys of from 7,326 to 8,060 online adults in the US.

Home printer penetration

The majority of online adults in the US use a home printer, although market penetration has dropped over the last two years.

In 2019, 68% of online adults in the US actively use a home printer. This is effectively the same level as in 2018 – 67%. However, this share had been a stable 73% between 2015 to 2017.

The decline has been driven by substitutes, primarily increased use mobile devices

Home printer page volume has declined

While the penetration of home printers has dropped slowly then stabilized, the number of pages being printed has dropped faster.

The average number of pages printed per month has dropped from 38.6 per month in 2015 to 31.8 in 2019, a reduction of nearly 20%.

Mobile substitutes for printing

One of the biggest contributors to the decline in printing – the mass move to mobile platforms. Americans are increasingly using their smartphones to find their way instead of printing maps or directions. That change is happening surely yet slowly.

It may surprise many digital natives that as many as 43.7 million Americans still occasionally print maps/directions.

Meanwhile, photo printing, once the darling of home printing, has also declined substantially. In 2019, 34.2 million adults print photos with their home printers, as steep decline since 2016 levels of 48.1 million Americans. Sharing photos in person on their mobile device or over social networks has risen in popularity.

Home printing has also subsided for customarily work-related documents such as reports and presentations. This is due in part to employers increasingly moving their communications to electronic formats.

One surprise – printing photos from tablets has decreased, even while tablet use has steadily increased. Also, mobile users are becoming more comfortable with printing directly from their smartphone or tablet. The decline is due in large part to the ongoing decline in printing photos at all, regardless of device.

Shifts in major home printer activities

The top home printer activity is coupons, currently an activity of 65.6 million US adults. This is slightly lower than several years ago, in 2016, where this activity was occasionally done by 68.8 million Americans.

Meanwhile printing tickets has quickly risen from being done by 38.6 million adults in 2016 to 52.4 in 52.4 in 2019.

Home printing and presence of children

One group that historically prints more than average are adults with children in the household. Whether it’s printing homework, photos, or greeting cards, these households are simply busier with their technology.

Households with children continue to print more than those without, although this rate has dropped recently. Between 2017 and 2019, the average number of pages printed by adults with children has dropped from more than 50 pages per month to just over 40.

Are younger digital natives responsible for less printing?

No. The youngest adults (18-24) are printing as much as ever, and currently more than most older adults.

The largest drop in print volume is among adults age 25 to 44.

How are printer manufacturers innovating?

Convenience is key. Ink subscription services make it easier for home printer users to keep their printers ready. Wireless connections facilitate printing from PCs as well as smartphones and tablets. Touch screens and preview screens give users more control. Voice assistants allow for hands-off capabilities.

Expanded use: Multi-function printers include scanning capabilities

Ink subscription plans

Overall, 19% of online adults in the US subscribe to an ink replacement plan for their home printer.

Not all home printers are used equally

Wireless connections dominate active use. Wi-Fi connections allow printing from PCs throughout a home as well as those nearby the printer.

Printing from a smartphone are tablet are used, although at a much lower rate than penetration of those devices. Bluetooth printing is hardly used.

Scanning is widespread.

Remote printing is very low.

Voice assistant use is almost nonexistent.

Active features by brand

Epson stands out for having the most unique set of features actively used, each being used more often than by the users of other home printer brands.

Home printer volume by brand

What’s ahead for home printers?

Home printers will continue to have a place in US homes for many years, even as their activity levels may shrink. The top current printing activities, coupons and tickets, will be replaced slowly over time as consumers become more comfortable with having secure documents on their smartphones or tablets.

Personal records and incidental web pages will likely linger, as consumers continue to value having hard copy archival copies for safekeeping. Even though it might be argued that electronic cloud storage is more secure, the majority of users are only slowly understanding that.

Home printers will be retained and renewed, if only for the convenience of having one around just in case it is needed.

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.

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.

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.