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CTA Finds Smartphones Are Household Staple

Consumer Technology Association releases new findings of household tech ownership

Smartphones are now a household staple across the U.S., with ubiquity and repeat purchase patterns mirroring those of the most prevalent tech in American households: television.

This is all according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association released Thursday.

The CTA study, the “18th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study,” outlines the most commonly owned tech items to date, their ownership trends and which household technologies are cutting further into the market. Television still tops the list as the most owned tech item, with 96 percent of households owning one. Smartphones now have a 91 percent repeat purchase rate, comparable only to TV’s. Audio products, most notably wireless speakers and headphones, have also seen spikes in ownership.

“Today’s fastest growing tech products in American homes shows a clear and unifying theme — devices that are connected,” CTA Senior Director of Market Research Steve Koenig said in the study announcement. “Over the next decade, we’ll see ownership of smartphones continue to expand, especially as devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem continue to unlock even more potential and opportunity for connected devices.”

CTA found the fastest growing piece of tech are portable wireless speakers, up 10 points from 2015 to 35 percent household ownership. Both increasing by nine percentage points are wearable fitness activity trackers (20 percent ownership) and wireless headphones (36 percent ownership), while smart TVs saw a seven-point increase to 50 percent household ownership.

Smart home devices, like advanced thermostats, lighting controls and motion sensors, are now owned by 15 percent of households. Smartwatches are expected to increase in prevalence with 8 percent of households expected to purchase one in the coming year, while 8 percent already own one.

Among the five “most owned” tech items across U.S. households, televisions still top the list (having a 96 percent household ownership), but ownership is down by one percentage with the CTA study reporting and increase in respondents saying they “never intend to buy a TV” is up to 22 percent from 18 percent in 2015.

Second, DVD and Blu-ray players (a 77 percent household ownership) have continued to trend downwards in ownership over the last five years.

In third, smartphones (reporting a 74 percent household ownership rate) are up two percentage points from 2015, with an average of 2.4 smartphones owned per American household.

Laptops have remained the same at its 2015 household ownership rate, 68 percent. Closing in at fifth, with one pair owned per household, headphones now have a 63 percent household ownership, taking digital camera’s spot.