Consumers Buy New Technology But Reluctant to Get Rid of Old Gear

Although the technological world moves incredibly fast, adopters of new technology appear reluctant to let go of the old, with those owning key tech items in many cases over-​indexing (when compared to the general U.S. adult population) on ownership for some of the very pieces of less cutting edge technology these devices threaten to replace. technology


Ownership of both Android powered smartphones (26%) and iPhones (22%) has risen considerably since May of last year (18% and 17%, respectively); Android ownership is also up slightly since January (23%), while iPhone ownership is comparable to its January level (21%).

There's been much talk of whether smartphones are reaching a point where they can replace stand-​alone digital cameras, and reports of diminishing digital camera sales would appear to support this. However, while these sales drops may or may not be attributable directly to smartphones, smartphone owners are at least as likely as the national average to currently own a point and shoot type digital camera (58%, vs. 56% of U.S. adults) and are nearly 30% more likely than the national average to own a digital SLR camera (22%, vs. 17% of U.S. adults).


Although much has been written about the versatility of tablets and the many technologies they may eventually replace, for now tablet owners seem reluctant to let go of, well, pretty much anything with a battery and a microchip. In fact, tablet owners are more likely than non-​owners to also own all kinds of technological goodies, including those that tablets are said to be in danger of replacing, such as laptop computers and e‑reader devices:

  • Mobile phone of any kind — 91% tablet owners, 74% non-owners 
    • Smartphone — 70% tablet owners, 39% non-owners
  • TV any kind — 82% tablet owners, 74% non-owners 
    • HDTV — 71% tablet owners, 55% non-owners
  • Laptop computer — 78% tablet owners, 60% non-owners
  • Digital camera of any kind — 75% tablet owners, 59% non-owners
  • Standalone DVD or Blu-​ray player — 62% tablet owners, 51% non-owners
  • Home video game console — 55% tablet owners, 33% non-owners
  • Digital video recorder or DVR (TiVo, etc.) — 42% tablet owners, 27% non-owners
  • E‑reader — 23% tablet owners, 14% non-owners
  • Handheld video game console — 23% tablet owners, 11% non-owners
  • Set-​top streaming media box (Roku, Apple TV, etc.) — 13% tablet owners, 3% non-owners

Perhaps not surprisingly given the entertainment possibilities tablets open up, tablet owners are also significantly more likely to subscribe to streaming services — nearly 80% more likely than non-​owners to subscribe to Netflix's steaming service (34% tablet owners, 19% non-​owners), over 40% more likely to subscribe to Hulu Plus (7% tablet owners, 4% non-​owners) and over 250% more likely to subscribe to Amazon Prime (22% tablet owners, 6% non-​owners). But even so, they are also more likely than non-​owners to subscribe to either cable or satellite TV services (80% tablet owners, 73% non-owners).

[Source:  "The Harris Poll/​Tech Tracker."  Harris Interactive.  13 Jun. 2013.  Web.  13 June 2013.]