- Smartphones are now in 87% of U.S. homes, second to televisions at 96%, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) found. For first time, the top three most frequently owned tech products are now screen devices, as laptops — trailing only TVs and smartphones — reached their highest ownership level at 72%.
- Among emerging tech categories, smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home have nearly tripled in ownership rate to reach 22% of American households. Smartwatch adoption also continues to grow, with 18% of U.S. households now owning at least one of the devices, an increase of six percentage points from last year.
- 4K Ultra High Definition TVs showed the greatest growth in ownership, rising 15 percentage points to 31% of households in a year. The ownership of digital media streaming devices rose 9 percentage points since last year to 45%. Ownership rates of drones and virtual reality (VR) headsets were measured at 10% and 11% of households, respectively.
The CTA's survey not only demonstrates the rapid popularization of smartphones in the past 11 years, but also how the consumer electronics market is becoming segmented among various smart devices. The popularity of these devices means that marketers will need to adjust strategies for not only reaching audiences through a broader mix of screens, but also how they provide ongoing customer support on burgeoning platforms like smart speakers and VR.
Among the next generation of connected products, smart speakers and VR are high on the list of what people most anticipate buying next. CTA's study confirms a recent forecast by the International Data Corporation about smart home buying trends that found that the global market of smart speakers, digital media adapters, lighting, thermostats and other connected gadgets will grow 26.8% this year to 549.5 million shipments.
Smart speakers, which are powered with voice recognition and artificial intelligence technologies that learn and adapt to a user's preferences, are gradually gaining in sophistication as third-party software developers create more advanced apps for the platforms. Industry leader Amazon, which sells its voice-enabled devices as a gateway to its e-commerce platform, has lost market share to Google and Chinese devices makers in the past year. Meanwhile, tech giant Apple has seen sluggish sales and shipments of its HomePod smart speaker, signaling that many consumers are looking for more advanced capabilities than playing music and asking simple queries.