Owning Innovation—2015 Sees Major Shift in Consumer Tech Ownership: CEA

Owning Innovation—2015 Sees Major Shift in Consumer Tech Ownership: CEA


Arlington, VA—According to a new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), there is a major shift underway in the types of consumer electronics (CE) owned by U.S. households. The 17th Annual CE Ownership and Market Potential Study released in May reveals that smartphones are now the third most-owned CE product in the U.S. Furthermore, they trail only televisions and DVD/Blu-ray players.

“A strong consumer appetite for mobile connected devices is causing some very interesting changes in the CE ownership landscape,” said Steve Koenig, senior director, Market Research, CEA. “These mobile devices have greatly influenced the type of content Americans consume. Additionally, they haven given birth to new emerging tech categories. These include wearable activity trackers and smart home devices that consumers are beginning to embrace more broadly.”  The top 10 most-commonly owned CE products shifted noticeably in 2015. As a result, smartphones are now owned in 72% of U.S. households. This represents a jump of eight points in the last year. Consequently, they take the number three spot on CEA’s list of the top 10 most-owned tech products. TVs are owned in almost every home in the country (97%). And DVD/Blu-ray players are in 78%. TVs and players settle into the number one and two spots, respectively.

Digital Cameras own the number five spot on CEA’s list. They are preceded by laptop ownership, which experienced the second largest gain in household penetration. Laptops reach 67% of households and slide into the fourth spot.

Sixth on the list are multifunction printers and seventh are headphones. At number eight are desktop computers, followed by tablets, which saw the largest increase in ownership growth over 2014. Tablets rose nine points to reach 54% ownership. They now join the list of the top 10 most-owned tech products for the first time. Video game consoles round out the list at number 10.

In addition, the study found that basic cell phones saw the largest decrease of any CE product. They dropped under 50% household penetration and out of the top 10 list.

Other fast-growing CE products in household penetration, according to the study, are wearable fitness trackers (increasing six percentage points to reach 11% ownership), digital media streaming devices such as Apple TV or Roku (increasing five percentage points to 29% ownership) and in-vehicle communication devices such as navigation, backup cameras and hands-free calling (increasing four percentage points to 34% ownership).

Consumer Electronics: Traditional vs. Digital Content

In light of these findings, CEA notes that the “proliferation of mobile connected devices is driving the rapidly increasing adoption of digital content (apps, digital music, electronic books, digital movies and shows, and digital video games). This at the expense of traditional content (paper/hardcover books, DVD/Blu-ray discs, music CDs, videogames on discs).”

In 2015, traditional content (79%) remained stagnant over a four-year average while digital content (63%) increased by 10 percentage points. CEA also projects that ownership of digital content will surpass traditional content by 2018.

The 17th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study was designed as well as formulated by CEA Market Research, a comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry, to evaluate the degree of ownership (household penetration) and purchase intent of CE devices and technologies among U.S. households. ce.org