Multipurpose Devices In, Single-Purpose Out?


Consumers want mobility and connectivity. That’s the takeaway from new data on the consumer electronics market, which shows consumer are increasingly turning to connected devices for many everyday tasks. They also seem to be favoring devices that do it all over standalone products with only one main function. What does this mean for the days of dedicated devices like ereaders and GPS?

According to the CEA (Consumer Electronics Assn.),, adoption is growing for tablets, smartphones, ereaders, and wireless mobile hotspots, all driven by consumers’ desire for mobility. There was a boost in the year-over-year increase in the household penetration rate for all these products, with tablets increasing the most at 17%, smartphones at 12%, ereaders at 10%, and wireless mobile hotspots at 10%.

In fact, Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst, market research, CEA, says, “For the first time in the 15 years we’ve conducted this survey, the top four products making headway in U.S. households are mobile devices.”

Overall, consumer electronics spending is also up during the last 12 months. Individual spending increased 35%, while household spending rose 36%. Spending increased the most for the 25-34-year-old age range, where it’s up 62% from 2012 levels. The CEA attributes the rising numbers to several factors, including decreasing unemployment and falling prices.

Consumers also seem to be turning to multipurpose devices. CEA says smartphone and tablet owners now spend less time with standalone electronics, such as digital cameras, instead preferring a device with several functions.

For instance, smartphones are now the primary device used for taking pictures, with 78% of consumers turning to their phones to snap an image. Smartphones are making gains in other categories as well, with 62% using them to read ebooks and 39% to play games.

So what devices’ days may be numbered? CEA says the devices consumers indicate they are most likely to stop using altogether include camcorders, portable audio/MP3 players, portable game devices, GPS or navigation devices, and dedicated ereaders.

The future looks bright for connected devices that allow consumers to perform multiple tasks using a single product. Gadgets that increase mobility are showing they have legs when it comes to consumer purchasing habits.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #connecteddevices #mobility

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