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US Digital Trends Spring market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Digital Trends Fall market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?


This Report details the conduction of digital activities, including:

  • Use of product/service reviews
  • Streaming video
  • Casual gaming
  • Research for online shopping
  • Downloading apps and games
  • Online dating
  • Online shopping
  • Digital couponing
  • Use of brand properties including YouTube channels, websites, games, and apps
  • Podcasts
  • Streaming content to television sets
  • Tracking fitness activity
  • Blogging

This Report is the first in the Digital Trends series in which a device agnostic approach was used for the survey methodology. The second title in this series to do so will be Digital Consumer (Hardware) – US, September 2018. As a result of this change, the Report does not trend responses with previous titles in this series, with the exception of in how consumers access the internet.

This Report does not focus specifically on the use of social media as Mintel devotes an entire separate Report to the subject, Social Media Trends – US, April 2018.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Billy Hulkower, a leading analyst in the Technology sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

With ever expanding means of accessing the internet, ranging from skills on smart speakers to television apps to podcasts, brands face an increasingly daunting task of determining the best points of contact; adding to the difficulty of this task is the finding that the same demographic groups run above average in the use of most digital media (including young adults age 18-34, the middle-income groups with annual household incomes from $25K-$99.9K, and Hispanics). However, there are points of division in usage that can be seized upon, in particular when it comes to gender, where men tend to over-index on entertainment pursuits, while women show higher levels of usage for sponsored stories, branded apps, and how-to videos. Billy Hulkower
Senior Technology Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • Figure 1: Number of household and personal devices owned, May 2018
        • The issues
          • Not buying into alternate realities
            • Figure 2: Ownership and interest in AR/VR, May 2018
          • Push back for artificial intelligence
            • Figure 3: Attitudes toward artificial intelligence, May 2018
          • Brand loyal market tough to break into
            • Figure 4: Attitudes toward tech brands, May 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Connection is key
              • Figure 5: Ownership and purchase intent of smart devices, May 2018
            • Upgrades driving mobile device sales
              • Figure 6: Ownership and purchase intent of mobile devices, May 2018
            • Home tech growing quickly
              • Figure 7: Interest in home tech, May 2018
            • Tap into users
              • Figure 8: Purchase influencers, May 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Device ownership high
                • Strong economic indicators help hardware
                • Proliferation of Devices

                  • Device efficiency has not limited ownership
                    • Figure 9: Number of household and personal devices owned, May 2018
                  • Demographic differences highlight groups who gravitate toward more
                    • Figure 10: Owners of at least five household and personal devices, by key demographics, May 2018
                • Market Factors

                  • Healthy GDP encourages discretionary spending
                    • Figure 11: GDP change from previous period and consumption expenditures, Q1 2007-Q1 2018
                  • Unemployment falling
                    • Figure 12: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-May 2018
                  • Population growth signals adoption opportunities
                    • Figure 13: Population by age, 2018-23
                  • Share of households with children shrinking
                    • Figure 14: Households, by presence of own children, 2007-17
                • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                  • Investing in high quality
                    • Too far ahead of the curve, and behind it
                      • Strengthening connection
                      • What’s Working?

                        • Digital assistants help in and out of the home
                          • Figure 15: Smart speaker revenue, 2016-18
                        • New television technology advancing image quality
                          • Figure 16: Revenue from TV sales, 2013-18
                        • Integrating the whole house
                          • Figure 17: Home solutions revenue, 2013-18
                        • New entries in gaming console market
                        • What’s Struggling?

                          • Getting people excited for alternate realities
                            • Figure 18: Ownership and interest in AR/VR, May 2018
                          • Physical media hit hard
                            • Figure 19: Revenue from physical media, 2013-18
                        • What’s Next?

                          • 5G phones approaching quickly
                            • Next in home tech
                              • Figure 20: Home solutions revenue, 2013-18
                            • Hearables enhancing the audio experience
                              • Figure 21: Hearables revenue, 2014-18
                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                            • TVs getting smarter
                              • Wireless opportunities in audio
                                • Mobile devices seek to differentiate
                                  • Mobility dominates computer ownership
                                    • Emerging tech needs boost of relevance
                                      • Opinions matter for new tech
                                        • Cloud of distrust looms over AI
                                          • Consistency is key
                                            • Tech purchases informed but skeptical
                                              • Consumer segmentation shows opportunity
                                              • TV Hardware

                                                • Key opportunity
                                                  • TV landscape leaving room for rising entrants
                                                    • Redefining HD
                                                      • Smart TVs becoming standard
                                                        • 3D hasn’t found its home audience
                                                          • Figure 22: Ownership and purchase intent of TVs, May 2018
                                                        • Figuring out the best way to stream
                                                          • Streaming media players gunning for the top of the box
                                                            • Integrating the mobile experience
                                                              • Figure 23: Ownership of recording and streaming devices, May 2018
                                                            • Younger adults looking for something new
                                                              • Figure 24: Ownership of TVs and recording devices, by age, May 2018
                                                            • Traditional viewing still mostly preferred, but younger adults are going online
                                                              • Figure 25: Attitudes toward streaming video, by age and gender, May 2018
                                                          • Audio Options

                                                            • Key opportunity
                                                              • Personal speakers important
                                                                • Figure 26: Ownership of audio options, May 2018
                                                              • Strong interest in smart audio
                                                                • Figure 27: Interest in owning smart audio, May 2018
                                                              • Parents looking for responsive audio options
                                                                • Figure 28: Echo Spot – Be Together More, April 2018
                                                                • Figure 29: Ownership of audio options, by parental status, May 2018
                                                            • Mobile Devices

                                                              • Key opportunity
                                                                • Ownership stable but still room to grow
                                                                    • Figure 30: Ownership and purchase intent of mobile devices, May 2018
                                                                  • Gender, age discrepancies show opportunity for mobile
                                                                    • Figure 31: Ownership of mobile devices, by age and gender, May 2018
                                                                • Computers

                                                                  • Key opportunity
                                                                    • Laptops vs desktops
                                                                      • Mobility drives laptop preferences
                                                                        • Personalization important to development
                                                                          • Figure 32: Ownership and purchase intent of computers, May 2018
                                                                        • More demographic distinctions for desktop owners
                                                                          • Figure 33: Ownership of computers, by key demographics, May 2018
                                                                      • Emerging Tech

                                                                        • Key opportunity
                                                                          • Home tech
                                                                            • Figure 34: Interest in home tech, May 2018
                                                                          • Outdoor tech
                                                                            • Figure 35: Interest in outside tech, May 2018
                                                                          • Gaming tech
                                                                            • Figure 36: Interest in gaming tech, May 2018
                                                                          • Augmented and virtual reality
                                                                            • Figure 37: Interest in AR and VR, May 2018
                                                                        • Purchase Influencers

                                                                          • Key opportunity
                                                                            • Trusting individuals over imagery
                                                                              • Figure 38: Purchase influencers, May 2018
                                                                            • Women respond to personal, men the digital
                                                                              • Figure 39: Purchase influencers – Select items, by gender, May 2018
                                                                            • Black, Hispanic consumers more responsive to ads
                                                                              • Figure 40: Purchase influencers – Select items, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2018
                                                                            • Parents want to educate themselves
                                                                              • Figure 41: Purchase influencers – Select items, by parental status, May 2018
                                                                          • Artificial Intelligence

                                                                            • Key opportunity
                                                                              • Lack of trust could hurt AI interest
                                                                                • Figure 42: Attitudes toward artificial intelligence, May 2018
                                                                              • Young men most receptive to AI
                                                                                • Figure 43: Attitudes toward artificial intelligence, by gender and age, May 2018
                                                                              • Hispanics may be receptive to digital assistance
                                                                                • Figure 44: Attitudes toward artificial intelligence, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2018
                                                                            • Attitudes toward Tech Brands

                                                                              • Key opportunity
                                                                                • Brand can trump cost
                                                                                  • Figure 45: Attitudes toward tech brands, May 2018
                                                                                • Young men care more about brand
                                                                                  • Figure 46: Attitudes toward tech brands, by age and gender, May 2018
                                                                                • Brand status important to parents
                                                                                  • Figure 47: Attitudes toward tech brands, by parental status, May 2018
                                                                              • Attitudes toward Tech Purchases

                                                                                • Key opportunity
                                                                                  • Proving a product’s worth
                                                                                    • Hesitant to convert interest into action
                                                                                      • In-person proof still relevant
                                                                                        • Demonstrating value outside mobile devices
                                                                                          • Figure 48: Attitudes toward tech purchases, May 2018
                                                                                        • Men always searching for new tech
                                                                                          • Figure 49: Attitudes toward tech purchases – Select items, by gender, May 2018
                                                                                        • Young adults seek dependability, convenience
                                                                                          • Figure 50: Attitudes toward tech purchases, by age, May 2018
                                                                                      • Consumer Segmentation

                                                                                        • Overview
                                                                                            • Figure 51: Tech segmentation, May 2018
                                                                                          • Trusting Technophiles (40%)
                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                • Opportunities
                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Tech segmentation – Trusting Technophiles, by demographics, May 2018
                                                                                                  • Cautious Conservatives (32%)
                                                                                                    • Demographics
                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                        • Opportunities
                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Tech segmentation – Cautious Conservatives, by demographics, May 2018
                                                                                                        • Brandphobic Bargainers (29%)
                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                              • Opportunities
                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Tech segmentation – Brandphobic Bargainers, by demographics, May 2018
                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                              • Data sources
                                                                                                                • Sales data
                                                                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                    • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                          • Terms