i3 - May/June 2016 - 42

Business

BY SHAWN DUBRAVAC

T H E EC O N O M I ST
THE CHANGING FACE OF
WHAT WE OWN
CTA recently published its 17th
Annual Ownership and Market
Potential Study full of incredible

Continuing Descent
Consumers think about use cases, not
devices. Many areas of ownership decline
are driven by shifting patterns of use
among households. DVD and Blu-ray
players were collectively owned by some
94 percent of U.S. households in 2010 but
household ownership rates have fallen to
77 percent in 2016. We've also witnessed
a subtle decline in the average number
of units per owning household-a classic
sign that household ownership rates will
decline further.
Smart TVs and digital media streaming devices have all seen sizable growth
over the 2010-2016 time horizon. Given
the expectation for continued growth for
these categories and a decline in the sales
of DVD and Blu-ray players, consumers'
shifting use patterns away from physical
media devices show no signs of abating.
A continued shift in use patterns and
growth in adjacent categories has also
impacted other legacy product categories like digital cameras and camcorders.
Eighty percent of households owned a
digital camera in 2010 but today only
61 percent of households own a discrete
digital camera. In 2010, about half of
households owned a camcorder, but
42

MAY/JUNE 2016

today only 27 percent report owning one.
Clearly, the growth of smartphones, with
their convenient photography capabilities,
is evident here.

growing, but at a declining rate. These
are categories showing signs of what
I'll call "near-term saturation," where
ownership rates are likely stabilizing. As
I've illustrated, use patterns shifting to
technologies like smartphones
Leading Ownership Growth
has impacted numerous
Today, half of households report
Household
categories, like standalone
owning a connected TV-up from
smartphone
digital cameras.
43 percent last year and just three
ownership
Smartphone household
percent in 2011. One in three
has grown
ownership has grown from
households also now own digital
from
33 percent in 2010 to
media streaming devices-up
74 percent this year. But it
from eight percent in 2011.
is up just two percentage
Bluetooth audio saw a sigin 2010 to
points over last year. One
nificant increase in reported
of the things we tend to see
ownership rates in 2016. U.S.
with maturing categories
household ownership rates for
this year.
is a higher percentage of
Bluetooth wireless over-the-ear
non-owning households
headphones increased by nine
that plan to buy the technolpercentage points in 2015 (to
ogy in the next year compared to those
37 percent of households) and ownerthat plan to ever own it. We also tend
ship rates for portable Bluetooth wireless
to see a very low share of first-time
speakers increased 10 percentage points
buyers among households that plan to
(to 35 percent of households). U.S. housebuy the technology in the coming year.
hold ownership of soundbars is now 20
percent-up from just six percent in 2010. Both of these tendencies are evident in
smartphone ownership.
New and nascent device categories are
A second slowing category is tabgrowing but still have relatively low ownlet computing. While ownership rates
ership rates. These include fitness trackincreased in 2016 by some five percenters, smart home devices, smartwatches,
age points, household adoption growth
drones and smart thermostats. However,
with a relatively high percentage of house- is slowing and household density rates
appear to have stabilized.
holds reporting they plan to own these
technologies in the coming years, these
categories show strong signs of potential.
For more on how tech ownership is
changing, see the full 17th Annual OwnerSlowing Ownership Growth
ship and Market Potential study.
Now let's look at categories that are

33%
74%

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

Hero Images/Glow Images

insights into the technology U.S. households own. Device ownership among U.S.
households is always in flux. At any given
time, device ownership will be growing,
declining or growing but at a declining
(i.e. slowing) rate so that ownership rates
are likely approaching an inflection point.
Inflection points generally indicate lower
ownership rates in the years to come. In
the following, I'll outline device categories
that fall into each of these categories and
discuss relevant market dynamics.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - May/June 2016

Contents
i3 - May/June 2016 - Cover1
i3 - May/June 2016 - Cover2
i3 - May/June 2016 - Contents
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i3 - May/June 2016 - Cover3
i3 - May/June 2016 - Cover4
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