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Smartphone Ownership Is On The Rise, But Nothing Can Touch TV

Do you know anyone without a cell phone? Statistically speaking, you might. What about a TV? Probably not. A new study published by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) found that eight out of 10 homes have a smartphone—that’s 80% of Americans! While that is impressive, the number of homes with at least one television in them is at a whopping 96% of Americans. That means only 4% of the American population live without a TV somewhere in their house.

2017 marks the first year that smartphones were able to jump to the second spot on the list, surpassing the previous year’s runner up—DVD/Blu-Ray players. Predictably, the DVD/Blu-ray player’s dropped by about 7% for a total household saturation rate of 70%. Given the current state of the market, that metric is expected to continue to drop year-over-year.

Overall, the total number of homes with a smartphone increased by 6% over 2016 numbers; for a total of 27 million more phones.

Steve Koenig, senior director of market research for CTA told Multichannel News that “…three of the top five most frequently owned technology devices are products with screens — televisions, smartphones and laptops — and those numbers will continue to grow as one-third of consumers tell us they’ll buy at least one smartphone in 2017, and one-fifth say they plan to buy a television or laptop in the coming year. U.S. consumers are quickly embracing the rapid rise of today’s ‘screen culture,’ demonstrating their appetite for connected devices that enable easy and accessible consumption of content of all types”.

This does not mean that screens are a sure bet in the coming year. In fact, the CTA points out that the higher penetration of mature categories like TVs and tablets increased pressure on the margins. The example used was the projected 65% projected increase in Ultra HD televisions despite the fact that the overall television market is not expected to incur any measurable increase in the coming year.

While the total number of homes with at least one television in them remained steady at 96%, the actual total number of television sets in the market dropped by about 308 million. In comparison to the rapid continuing growth of smartphones, we can expect to see televisions dethroned from the number one spot in the next few years.



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