Tech Devices Owned in 2014

>As we enter 2015, I wanted to give our readers a look at some of my survey data highlighting the percentage of ownership by specific tech products as of the end of Q4 2014 from our research panel. Since we do research panels quarterly on a range of topics, I’m setting the stage so we can look back throughout 2015 and beyond to see how the data changes with time.

First, a note on methodology. While respondents to the survey could take the survey from their smartphone, tablet, and even featurephone, the vast majority of respondents took the survey from their desktop or notebook PC. This panel went out to over over 40,000 people with larger volumes of respondents in Western countries. I have data for over 30 countries but I’m focusing on certain markets for this post. For each market, I’ll share the chart and make a few observations. But overall they are self explanatory.

Question: What devices do you personally own?
*Smart TV was defined as a TV that could access the Internet
*Smart Watch was defined by using examples like Pebble, Samsung Galaxy Gear, Sony Smartwatch
*Smart wristband was defined by using examples like Nike Fuelband, Fitbit, Jawbone UP
*Tablet was defined by using examples like Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab
*Smartphone was defined by a phone with access to an app store, browser, maps, email, etc.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 5.02.50 PM

This panel was to over 27,000 respondents in the US and UK. In both these markets the PC, smartphone, and tablet percentages closely align with actual penetration of each device. I have a high degree of confidence the other categories represent the general penetration as well of the US/UK market based on retail and sales data I have.

I expect moderate growth of both the smartwatch and the smart fitness band products by this time next year in the US and UK market. The PC will likely remain flat and may actually decline and I do expect the tablet percentage to increase.

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China requires some context for this data. This panel had 4,700 respondents. The percentages do not line up with the penetration of core computing devices. So we have to take that into account. PC penetration is about 35% in China and smartphone penetration is nearing 50%. What we take away from this panel is the mix of device ownership by the online population, a group that can generally afford a range of gadgets and a group where PC penetration is quite high. This is why, within this group, the smartwatch percentage is quite high. In fact, of every country surveyed, China had the second highest number of respondents who said they personally owned a smartwatch.

While an important segment to understand, this data represents a picture of tech device ownership of the top 30-35% of the China market. This picture would look different if we just researched the lower tiers where a smartphone is likely the only smart tech device they own.


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The India panel had 3,100 respondents. Much of the same context of the China market applies to the India market. Only here, we are looking at the top 20% of the market. PC penetration in India is around 10% and smartphone penetration about 9%. Smartphone penetration is growing rapidly in India and, in Q4 of 2015, smartphone penetration will likely double and be near 20% or higher. It was interesting among these respondents that smartwatch ownership came back so high. Granted, we are polling the higher tiers of the market so their disposable income and ability to afford multiple tech products is higher than the overall Indian market.

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I’m including Japan because I’ve always found it a particularly interesting market. This panel covered just over 2,000 respondents but again has similar penetration rates of PCs, smartphones, and tablets. The tablet never took off in Japan the way it has in other markets, and the smartphone amazingly didn’t take off as fast as I thought either. This in the context of how fast Japan has been in the adoption of other leading tech categories. I’m very curious to see how the Apple Watch does in Japan. We know the Japanese have an affinity for Apple products and tech/gadgetry in general. While Japan is not on any lists I have seen as a big market for the Apple Watch, I think it may be a sleeper market.

I gather data points on these markets and many more and use them to round out my analysis on each region. But, as a starting point for our readers, I wanted to start with some of the specific device ownership data and keep updating models throughout 2015 as key observations come to light. Obviously, the smartwatch is a key category I’m observing¬†and will continue get data on from each key region.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

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