The 5 Devices With the Broadest Penetration in US Households

June 2, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Connected Device Comparisons | Digital | Mobile Phone | Technology | Television

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is out with its 19th annual study of consumer technology ownership, noting that smartphone penetration has surged by 6 points to 80% of US homes. But the good old television continues to be the most widely owned device, despite a small dip in the number of units owned.

This year, household ownership of TV sets remained steady at 96% owning at least one, though the 308 million units owned represented a 3% year-over-year decline. Nevertheless, that means that there are more than 2 TV sets per US household.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that just 2.6% of US households lacked a TV in 2015, although that was double the proportion from 2009. Some 39% of households owned 3 or more TVs, though that was down from 44% in 2009.

Returning to the CTA release, the figures indicate that smartphones sport the next-highest level of penetration in US households, with their new peak of 80%. The number of smartphones owned in the US rose by 13% to an estimated 238 million.

Smartphones took over the second spot from DVD/Blu-ray players, which experienced a rather significant 7-point drop in penetration to 70%, as unit ownership declined by 14% to 142 million.

Wired headphones and earbuds are also in 70% of US households, according to the CTA, though there are far more of these devices in existence around the US. In fact, they are the most frequently owned tech product in terms of unit ownership, which is estimated to be 352 million.

Finally, in the 5th spot this year are notebooks, laptops and netbooks, which sit at 69% penetration (up 1% point). Worth noting is that unit ownership jumped by 12% year-over-year, a growth rate almost as fast as seen for smartphones (13%).

In other highlights from the report:

  • Almost half (45%) of US households now own at least one vehicle with a driver-assistive safety or communication system, up 6% points year-over-year;
  • Smart home devices, smart TVs, smart watches, wearable activity trackers and wireless speakers each experienced an increase in household penetration of 4%; and
  • Almost one-sixth (16%) of US households now own a 4K UHD TV, more than double the rate (7%) from last year.

About the Data: The CTA’s 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study ascertains ownership and purchase intent of consumer technology products among U.S. households across various categories. The report was administered via a dual-frame telephone interview to 2,014 U.S. adults between Feb. 2-13, 2017. It is designed and formulated by CTA Market Research.


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