Nearly 4 in 10 Americans and Majority of Echo Boomers Planning a Tech Purchase in Next 3 Months

New York , N.Y. – November 25, 2013 – Thanksgiving is so close that you may already be starting to smell the turkey, and with Thanksgiving comes the unofficial kickoff of the holiday shopping season. So, while ownership in many of the top categories of tech products shows little to no growth in comparison to this summer, many American adults of all ages – and the majority of Echo Boomers – indicate they have tech purchases on the horizon.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,368 adults surveyed online between October 16 and 21, 2013 by Harris Interactive as part of its Tech Tracker intended to act as a barometer of technology ownership and interactions among U.S. adults.

Ownership similar to last quarter

Just over half of Americans (52%) confirm owning a smartphone, down slightly from July (54%). Ownership levels specifically for Android powered smartphones (28%, vs. 30% in July) and iPhones (24%, vs. 23% in July) show similarly marginal shifts from last quarter.

In another of the most often discussed and analyzed categories, tablets, a similar story emerges. After rising from 33% to 38% between April and July, now rests at 36%. Other tech categories show similarly negligible shifts when compared to July.

With holidays approaching, many plan tech purchases

But looking ahead, nearly four in ten Americans (37%) – and the majority of Echo Boomers (54%) – plan on purchasing at least one tech devices from the tested list within the next three months. More specifically, roughly one in ten Americans indicate planning the following purchases within that time:

  • Smartphone (13%), with planned Android (6%) and iPhone (5%) purchases in a statistical dead heat.
  • Tablet (11%), with iPad/iPad mini purchase intent (6%) equaling combined intent for Amazon Kindle Fire series (3%) and Android powered (3%) tablets.
  • Computer (11%).
  • HDTV (8%).
  • A next-gen gaming console (8%) with PlayStation 4 purchase intent (6%) outpacing that of the Xbox One (3%) at a 2-to-1 ratio.

In news set to shatter absolutely no preconceptions, younger Americans and men are showing stronger intent to purchase tech items in the next three months.

  • Intent to purchase at least one tech item drops significantly with every generational step up, with Echo Boomers (ages 18-36) showing the strongest intent (54%), followed by Gen Xers (ages 37-48, 39%), Baby Boomers (ages 49-67, 29%) and finally Matures (ages 68+, 20%).
  • Men (45%) are also considerably more likely than women (30%) to have at least one tech purchased planned for the near future.

But the holiday season is all about the kids, right? And while we can’t say with any certainty for whom upcoming tech purchases are intended, children may want to be extra gentle when shaking those wrapped packages and trying to guess what’s inside. Americans with kids under 18 are considerably more likely than those without to be planning at least one tech purchase in the near future (54% and 32%, respectively), with some key gaps by category including:

  • Smartphone (21% of those with kids under 18, 11% of those without).
  • Tablet (21% with, 8% without).
  • Computer (21% with, 8% without).
  • Next-gen game console (14% with, 6% without).
    • Parents of children under 18 are twice as likely to be planning a PlayStation 4 purchase within the next three months (11%) as they are to be planning on buying an Xbox One (5%).

Does streamed content mean cut cords?

Three-fourths of Americans subscribe to either cable (52%) and/or satellite (25%) services, while one-fourth (25%) have Netflix streaming subscriptions, 13% subscribe to Amazon Prime and 4% subscribe to Hulu Plus.

Steaming content usage doesn’t necessarily point to cut cords, though:

  • For example, those with kids under 18 over-index considerably when compared to the general population for streaming Netflix (37% and 25%, respectively) and Amazon Prime (18% and 13%, respectively) subscriptions, but show little divergence in combined cable and satellite subscriptions (72% parents, 75% general population).
  • Echo Boomers are another story entirely. In addition to being above the national average for Netflix streaming (41% Echo Boomers, 25% total) and Amazon Prime (17% and 13%, respectively) subscriptions, this generation shows considerably lower-than-average combined cable and satellite subscriptions (60% Echo Boomers, 75% total).

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TABLE 1a

DEVICES OWNED

Computing & Mobile – Trended

Which of the following do you currently own? Please select all that apply.

Base: All U.S. adults

May 2012

Sept. 2012

Jan. 2013

April 2013

July 2013

Oct. 2013

%

%

%

%

%

%

Computer [NET]

na

na

95

95

93

94

Laptop computer [NET]

na

na

70

66

66

67

Laptop computer (Windows based)

56

57

59

56

57

56

Laptop computer (Apple based)

12

10

10

9

10

9

Laptop computer (other)

na

na

5

5

4

7

Desktop computer [NET]

na

na

70

70

68

66

Desktop computer (Windows based)

62

59

61

62

59

57

Desktop computer (Apple based)

10

7

8

7

8

7

Desktop computer (other)

na

na

4

5

5

6

Mobile Phone [NET]

na

na

80

79

80

80

Smartphone [NET]

na

na

46

49

54

52

Android powered smartphone

18

24

23

26

30

28

iPhone

17

21

21

22

23

24

Blackberry

7

5

4

4

3

4

Windows mobile powered smartphone

4

3

2

3

3

3

Standard mobile phone (i.e. a phone mainly for calls and/or texting; not a smartphone)

na

na

40

35

33

34

Tablet [NET]

na

na

35

33

38

36

iPad

13

15

18

16

17

15

Amazon Kindle Fire series tablet

na

na

11

9

10

10

Samsung Galaxy series tablet

na

na

4

3

6

5

iPad mini

na

na

2

2

2

4

Windows powered tablet

2

1

2

1

1

3

Google Nexus series tablet

na

na

1

2

2

3

Other Android powered tablet

na

na

4

6

6

6

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 1b

DEVICES OWNED

Entertainment & Media – Trended

Which of the following do you currently own? Please select all that apply.

Base: U.S. adults

May 2012

Sept. 2012

Jan. 2013

April 2013

July 2013

Oct. 2013

%

%

%

%

%

%

Digital camera [NET]

66

65

681

641

651

65

HDTV without built-in Internet capabilities

na

na

50

49

49

44

HDTV with built-in Internet capabilities (Smart TV)

na

na

17

16

17

12

TV Devices
Digital Video Recorder or DVR (TiVo, etc.)

na

na

32

32

32

33

Standalone Blu-ray player (not including other devices that can also play Blu-ray disks)

na

na

22

22

22

21

Set-top streaming media box (Roku, Apple TV, etc.)

na

na

7

6

7

6

Home video game consoles

Xbox 360

na

16

18

17

18

19

Sony PlayStation 3

14

12

14

15

14

15

E-reader [NET]

na

na

21

17

20

21

Amazon Kindle e-reader that is not a tablet computer

16

15

13

12

12

12

Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader

6

5

6

5

6

8

Other e-reader

na

na

3

1

3

2

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

1 Polls asked digital camera in both point-and-shoot and SLR formats; percentage provided is a net of the two


TABLE 2

DEVICES PLAN ON PURCHASING WITHIN NEXT 3 MONTHS

Computing & Mobile – Generation, Gender & Child(ren) <18

And which of the following, if any, do you plan on purchasing within the next three months? Please select all that apply.

Base: U.S. adults

Oct. 2013

Generation

Gender

Parent to kid(s) <18

Echo Boomers (18-36)

Gen X (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

Male

Female

Yes

No

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

At least 1 of the tested items [NET]

37

54

39

29

20

45

30

54

32

Mobile Phone [NET]

15

22

14

12

8

18

12

23

12

Smartphone [NET]

13

22

11

10

7

16

11

21

11

Android powered smartphone

6

10

3

5

2

8

4

10

5

iPhone

5

8

5

4

4

6

5

6

5

Other smartphone (Windows powered, BlackBerry)

3

5

3

3

2

3

4

7

2

Standard mobile phone (i.e. a phone mainly for calls and/or texting; not a smartphone)

2

2

2

2

1

3

1

4

1

Tablet [NET]

11

17

11

9

5

12

10

21

8

iPad or iPad mini

6

10

5

6

1

6

7

12

5

Amazon Kindle Fire series tablet

3

6

4

1

2

4

3

7

2

Android powered tablet (Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy)

3

5

3

2

2

4

2

7

2

Computer [NET]

11

14

14

8

7

13

9

21

8

Laptop computer [NET]

8

12

10

5

3

10

6

16

6

Laptop computer (Windows based)

7

9

8

5

3

9

4

14

5

Laptop computer (Apple based)

2

4

2

1

1

2

2

6

1

Desktop computer [NET]

5

6

6

5

3

7

4

11

3

Desktop computer (Windows based)

4

5

4

3

3

5

3

7

3

Desktop computer (Apple based)

2

2

3

2

2

2

6

1

HDTV [NET]

8

11

9

7

5

11

6

15

6

HDTV with built-in Internet capabilities (Smart TV)

5

7

4

5

3

7

4

8

4

HDTV without built-in Internet capabilities

4

5

5

2

2

4

3

8

2

Next-gen home video game consoles [NET]

8

17

8

3

 

12

5

14

6

Sony PlayStation 4

6

14

6

1

9

4

11

5

Xbox One

3

5

3

2

4

1

5

2

Digital camera

6

7

7

6

2

6

5

9

5

Standalone Blu-ray player

2

4

2

2

 

3

2

7

1

Set-top streaming media box

2

3

2

2

 

3

1

5

1

E-reader [NET]

2

3

3

2

3

3

2

5

2

Amazon Kindle e-reader that is not a tablet computer

2

2

1

1

2

2

1

4

1

Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

None of these

63

46

61

71

80

55

70

46

68

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

indicates percentage is <.05%; – indicates no selections among this group


TABLE 3a

TV SERVICES SUBSCRIBE TO – by Trend, Generation, Gender & Child(ren) <18

Which of the following services do you subscribe to?

Base: U.S. adults

Jan. 2013

April 2013

July 2013

Oct. 2013

Generation

Parents to kid(s) <18

Echo Boomers (18-36)

Gen X (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

Yes

No

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

TV service NET

75

75

74

75

60

76

82

88

72

76

Cable TV service

53

51

51

52

46

48

55

63

49

53

Satellite TV service

23

25

24

25

16

30

28

25

25

24

Netflix NET

29

28

29

29

43

31

21

13

40

25

Netflix – streaming service

24

24

25

25

41

24

18

9

37

22

Netflix – DVD delivery service

12

9

9

9

9

13

7

7

13

8

Amazon Prime

10

11

12

13

17

15

10

6

18

11

Hulu Plus

5

5

5

4

8

5

3

1

8

3

None of these

14

14

14

14

16

14

13

9

11

14

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 3b

TV SERVICES SUBSCRIBE TO – by Subscriptions, Tablet Ownership & Computer Type

Which of the following services do you subscribe to?

Base: U.S. adults

Oct. 2013

Devices Own/Use

Streaming Services Subscribe To

Smartphone [NET]

Tablet [NET]

Netflix

Hulu Plus

Amazon Prime

%

%

%

%

%

%

TV service NET

75

75

78

67

54

72

Cable TV service

52

52

53

50

30

53

Satellite TV service

25

25

27

20

26

22

Netflix NET

29

38

41

100

70

54

Netflix – streaming service

25

35

38

100

67

51

Netflix – DVD delivery service

9

11

13

22

21

17

Amazon Prime

13

18

21

25

26

100

Hulu Plus

4

7

6

11

100

9

None of these

14

12

9

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 16 and 21, 2013 among 2,368 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #89, November 25, 2013

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

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