Household ownership of wireless audio, wearables, and connected devices saw the largest household ownership gains from 2015 to 2016, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The 18th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study's findings also found smartphones to be a household staple, with ownership trends beginning to mirror those of televisions, which remain the most pervasive tech product in U.S. households.
The study found that tech devices experiencing the largest increase in household ownership from 2015 to 2016 include portable wireless speakers (up 10 percentage points to reach 35 percent household ownership); wearable fitness activity trackers (20 percent ownership) and wireless headphones (36 percent ownership) both increasing nine percentage points; and smart TVs (50 percent ownership) increasing by seven percentage points.
"Wireless, portable, connected devices are driving tech adoption," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association. "Highly sophisticated tech devices such as wearable health trackers and Bluetooth-enabled headphones are now available in a wide array of styles and price points, making them more accessible for households across the country—improving our productivity, entertainment experiences, and wellness, across generations."
"Today's fastest-growing tech products in American homes show a clear and unifying theme—devices that are connected," said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA. "The latest in connected audio and video, and wearables are now seeing ownership growth enjoyed only by smartphones and tablets in recent years."
The most-commonly owned tech products shifted considerably again in 2016. Televisions are still owned in 96 percent of households, down slightly by one percentage point. There are now almost as many TVs owned (320 million installed base) as the U.S. population (321 million). Notably, there was a slight increase in respondents who say they never intend to buy a TV (reaching 22 percent from 18 percent in 2015)—likely due to diffusion of video consumption across multiple device screens.
DVD/Blu-ray players are owned by 77 percent of households, making it the second-most popular device but continuing a downward trend over the last five years. Smartphones are owned in 74 percent of U.S. households, up two percentage points from 2015. On average, Americans now own 2.4 smartphones per household, and the expected smartphone repeat purchase is 91 percent—comparable only to television ownership trends. Laptop/notebooks now have 68 percent U.S. household penetration, on par with last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. households now own at least one pair of headphones, replacing digital cameras as the fifth-most owned tech device.
"Smartphones have become so essential to our everyday lives—at home and on the go—that the device's ownership trends are beginning to mirror the most ubiquitous tech device in American history, the television," said Koenig. "Over the next decade, we'll see ownership of smartphones continue to expand, especially as devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem continue to unlock even more potential and opportunity for connected devices."
Among the fastest growing tech categories overall, wearable fitness activity trackers are now owned by 20 percent of U.S. households—almost double the number of households that owned the technology last year—with another 15 percent of households planning to purchase in the next year. Smart home devices (smart thermostats, lighting controls, motion sensors, etc.), led by smart thermostats, are now owned in 15 percent of households. Additionally, eight percent of households currently own a smartwatch, and another eight percent are planning to buy one in the next year.
The expanding adoption and growth of IoT is also predicted to help lead the U.S. consumer technology industry to $287 billion in retail revenues ($224 billion wholesale) in 2016, according CTA's U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts.
The 18th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study ascertains ownership and purchase intent of consumer technology products among U.S. households across video, audio, automotive, computer, gaming, communications, and emerging tech categories. It is designed and formulated by CTA Market Research. The complete study is available for free for CTA member companies at members.CTA.tech. Non-members may purchase the study at the CTA store.