Approximately 40 percent of U.S. consumers who work for large enterprises said they use their personally owned smartphone, desktop or laptop daily for some form of work purposes, according to a recent survey by Gartner.
The study, which was conducted in June 2014, surveyed more than 4,300 U.S. consumers about their technology usage and attitudes in order to gain a better picture of how devices are used for work and leisure.
“The lines between work and play are becoming more and more blurred as employees choose to ‘use their own device’ for work purposes whether sanctioned by an employer or not,” said Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Devices that were once bought purely for personal use are increasingly being used for work and technology vendors and service providers need to respond to this.”
The survey studied the use of devices by consumers, whether as a primary or supplemental business device. The most popular personally owned device used at least casually for work was a desktop computer at 42 percent, closely followed by a smartphone at 40 percent, a laptop at 36 percent and a tablet at 26 percent.
Only 25 percent of employees who use their own device are required to by their employer. Of the remaining 75 percent who chose to use their own device almost half said that they are doing so without their employers’ knowledge.
When asked how all consumers use their devices at work and play (not including email, sending/receiving texts or general Web searches) consumers provided some interesting answers, particularly for tablets. Respondents listed playing games as the No. 1 way they used their tablets, followed by social media and checking news and weather. The importance of games on tablets aligns with the comparatively low usage of tablets for work purposes.
“Given that the primary use of smartphones, after calling and texting, identified by respondents was for maps and directions, smartphone vendors should focus on ensuring ease of integration with in-car sound and media systems for hands-free and real-time operation of these functions,” said Ms. Sabia.
The survey also found that online banking and completing an online purchase transaction are in the top three activities done on a desktop and laptop — activities that require keyboarding and concentration. Quick checks of news, weather, maps, directions and social media, along with “snacking” on gaming, are done on the smaller mobile devices. Video entertainment topped the smart TV list but listening to music on smart TVs was something of a surprise at third, especially as it is further down the list for a smartphone, at No. 5.
According to the survey, 32 percent of respondents intend to purchase a smartphone in the next 12 months, 23 percent intend to buy a laptop or notebook, 20 percent plan to buy a tablet and 14 percent a desktop PC or smart TV.
When it comes to the scope and scale of current device ownership in the home, the survey found that many households average two or more laptops, smartphones and gaming devices. Presuming there are on average 6.2 devices per home in 124 million households that gives a market size of almost 770 million potential devices.
“While this is a large number, it is still a small portion of the potential number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices people will own in five years’ time,” said Ms. Sabia. “Newer devices for the connected home and personal trackers are coming to market — these are the seeds of growth — not only for purchasing devices, but also for associated services and apps.”
Mobile app downloads are also on the rise. According to the survey, about four out of five consumers have downloaded a mobile app, while three-quarters of these apps were completely free. The rest have a payment attached to them.
“This is quite encouraging for the app industry, which has struggled at times to monetize its products,” said Nick Ingelbrecht, research director with Gartner. “The market is maturing, however, as consumers have become more discerning and for the most part will pay for the apps they find valuable in their lives.”