Smartphones Overtake DVD/Blu-ray For No. 2 Most-Owned Tech: CTA

Growth seen for multiple emerging categories
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Smartphones are now in 80 percent of U.S. homes, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), making them second most frequently owned tech product in U.S. households, behind TVs.  

Smartphones, which grew 6 percent in 2016 vs. 2015, displaced DVD and Blu-ray players for the No. 2 spot in household penetration.  

In releasing its “19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study,” CTA provided a snapshot of consumer buying trends in a range of traditional and emerging consumer electronics categories. The group surveyed 2,014 adults via telephone between Feb. 2-13.

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"Connectivity — the anytime/anywhere access to information and entertainment we now expect — is a driving trend of our time, supported by the continued growth we've seen in smartphone ownership," said Gary Shapiro, CTA president and CEO, in a statement. “Smartphones are our personal hubs for innovative technologies like smart homes, connected cars and voice-recognition services. And, as more of us recognize the ability of technology to change our lives for the better, smartphones will continue to be one of the most pervasive technologies owned in homes throughout the U.S."

According to CTA, TVs remain the most popular technology device, with 96 percent of homes owning at least one. The total number of units owned (308 million) decreased by 3 percent year over year.

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This strong household penetration — also seen with tablets, PCs and laptops — is slowing growth and placing pressure on margins for some manufacturers and retailers, CTA said. Although Ultra HD TV revenue is projected to increase 65 percent for 2016, CTA said it doesn’t expect revenue for the overall TV market to increase this year.

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According to CTA, 16 percent of households currently own a 4K Ultra HD TV, up 9 percent vs. the prior year, and 11 percent plan to purchase one in the coming year.

Wired headphones and ear buds, meanwhile, were the No. 1 most frequently owned consumer tech product in terms of units. CTA estimated that 352 million units are in U.S. households in 2017, and that 70 percent of households own them.  

"Three of the top five most frequently owned technology devices are products with screens — televisions, smartphones and laptops — and those numbers will continue to grow as one-third of consumers tell us they'll buy at least one smartphone in 2017, and one-fifth say they plan to buy a television or laptop in the coming year," said Steve Koenig, market research senior director, CTA. "U.S. consumers are quickly embracing the rapid rise of today's 'screen culture,' demonstrating their appetite for connected devices that enable easy and accessible consumption of content of all types."

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Other findings from CTA’s study:

Sixty-nine percent own a notebook, laptop or netbook.

Almost half (45 percent) have at least one vehicle with a driver-assistive safety or communication system such as back-up sensors, rearview cameras or hands-free calling.

Smart-home devices, smart TVs, smart watches, wearable activity trackers and wireless speakers each grew 4 percent in household ownership.


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