Press Releases

Growth driven primarily by connected TV and streaming media players

Port Washington, NY, November 9, 2015 – By the end of 2018, 231 million installed devices are expected to be connected to the Internet and able to deliver apps to TVs, representing 82 percent growth from 2014 to 2018, according to the Connected Home Entertainment Forecast report from global information company The NPD Group.

“The two largest drivers of growth will be the increased acceptance of connected televisions in the homes of U.S. consumers, as well as the continued adoption of streaming media players such as those offered by Google, Apple, Roku, and Amazon,” said John Buffone, Executive Director, Industry Analyst, Connected Intelligence, The NPD Group. 

Connected TVs—inclusive of Internet-capable 4K TVs—are projected to drive 37 percent of the growth during the four-year period, and streaming media players are projected to drive 33 percent of the growth during that same time period.

Rise in Over-the-Top Streaming Content Services

Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO GO remain the top five streaming video services used on connected TVs and attached content devices.  But, a new video distribution channel is surfacing through the proliferation of streaming services from television networks that no longer require viewers to subscribe to a pay TV channel bundle.  As of July 2015, 5 percent of U.S. Internet homes subscribed to at least one of these over-the-top streaming content services, and that rate rises to 7 percent of homes with a connected TV or attached content device. Current over-the-top programming includes HBO NOW, Showtime, CBS All Access, WWE Network, Sesame Street Go, Noggin, Lifetime Movie Club, and Shudder. 

“Direct streaming subscriptions to network programming allows broadband providers an opportunity to generate revenue from services above and beyond their broadband offerings, while also further increasing the utility of connected TVs,” added Buffone. “As anticipated, we are already seeing uptake of these services by millennials at levels two times the norm. And, this trend is expected to continue as more networks make unauthenticated apps available to viewers.”

The NPD Group’s quarterly Connected Home Forecast report takes an in-depth look at the landscape of device connectivity in the United States, estimating how many connectable devices will be installed in consumers' homes and how many of those consumers will ultimately connect these devices to the Internet.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results. The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup


David Riley
(917) 543-5465


Port Washington, NY, October 28, 2015 – As consumers become more aware of the benefits and capabilities of activity trackers and smartwatches, combined with the market entrance of key players such as Apple in the smartwatch space, The NPD Group forecasts at least a 4 percent increase in ownership of wearable devices such as activity trackers and smartwatches during the Q4 2015 holiday season in the U.S. market. In the latest Consumers and Wearables report, The NPD Group tracked consumers’ intention to purchase as well as the key factors influencing their decisions on brand and functionality.

"The wearables industry has come to a crossroads in the past six months, as the quality, depth and price points of activity trackers and smartwatches have expanded at a rapid rate," said Weston Henderek, Director, Wearables, Connected Intelligence, The NPD Group. "The two sectors are much more segmented now, with the activity tracker category in particular having a wide variety of price ranges, depending on features, quality, and design."

In November 2013, awareness of activity trackers was just over 30 percent of the U.S. market, with younger consumers being the most knowledgeable. Almost two years later, the situation has changed significantly, with close to 82 percent of the U.S. base claiming awareness of activity tracking devices.

Brand preference in the activity tracker space continues to be led by Fitbit, and by a large margin. In fact, Fitbit ownership has increased 13 percentage points since February 2015, and it remains the only activity tracker brand that consumers request by name on a regular basis, rather than just by comparing features or style.

Watch out, World: The Apple Watch is Transforming the Smartwatch Sector

Whereas the price tags and continued uncertainty on the part of consumers about the functionality of smartwatches has—in the past—stalled any significant growth in the category, the release of the Apple Watch in April has made major ripples within the smartwatch sector.

“Smartwatch adoption has started to increase significantly following the launch of the Apple Watch, which is much more of a mainstream product than other generation one smartwatches,” Henderek added. “However, even the Apple Watch is not expected to reach its full potential until the launch of a second-generation version—presumably with integrated cellular connectivity. In fact, independent cellular connectivity is one of the key differentiators [compared to activity trackers] that will accelerate smartwatch growth even further in the coming year.”

Activity Trackers/Digital Fitness Devices: The Must-Have Item this Holiday Season

According to NPD’s U.S. Technology and Sports Retail Tracking Service data, retail sales of activity trackers/digital fitness devices (excluding smartwatch sales) increased 120 percent over the first eight months of the year (Jan.’15 – Aug.’15), from $343.5 million to $754.8 million.

“That level of growth is expected to extend through the end of the year, making activity trackers some of the hottest tech gifts this holiday. Awareness of these products has grown tremendously over the past year, and there are a diverse number of products on the market offering a variety of features and price points,” said Ben Arnold, Executive Director, Industry Analyst, Consumer Electronics, The NPD Group. “Manufacturers continue to partner with designers to increase the appeal of the products, and there is a product for every type of consumer—from the most active athlete to the mom who just wants to remember when to pick up her kids from soccer practice—on the market.”

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The NPD Group, Inc.
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The CE industry reached a milestone in the second quarter with half of U.S. Internet homes now owning a Connected TV device.  This includes connected TVs, video game consoles, streaming media players, and Blu-ray Disc players that consumers connected to the Internet allowing them access to apps such as Netflix and Hulu. The total number of homes that have a Connected TV device is up to 46 million, a four million home increase from Q2 of last year, according to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Connected Home Entertainment Report.

A primary driver of this growth has been the success of the SMART TV industry. According to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service, 45 percent of TVs sold in the U.S. during Q2 supported apps, up from 34 percent last year and 24 percent two years ago. As more app-ready TVs enter homes, the rate of consumers actually connecting these displays to the Internet also increased. In Q2, 69 percent of all installed Internet capable TVs were connected, up from 61 percent last year and 45 percent two years ago.

“The increase in the number of homes that use a TV with apps is the result of three very important factors,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence. “Sales of TVs with apps have skyrocketed, their user interfaces have improved and there has been a surge in available premium services and programming.”

As of Q2 2015, Netflix remained the most commonly used video service among homes with connected TVs, followed by YouTube, Amazon Prime/Instant Video, Hulu and HBO GO/NOW. Compared to Q2 2014, more connected TV users reported using each of these services. HBO’s commitment to an over-the-top footprint with their GO and NOW platforms resulted in them being the first TV network to reach the top five ranking, displacing Crackle.  

“We’re living in the Golden Age of TV where significant investments are being made in developing original series. This is being enabled by growth in online services such as Hulu and Amazon Video as well as industry leading TV networks benefiting from the large pay TV subscriber base and fast developing over-the-top audience that uses apps on TV. The collaboration between TV manufacturers and content providers is imperative to keeping the connected TV ecosystem growing, both through devices and content.”  


Connected Home Entertainment Report

More than 5,000 U.S. consumers, age 18 and older were surveyed through the second quarter of 2015. The number of installed and internet connected devices includes those that deliver broadband applications and must actually be connected to the Internet.  Connected TV and streaming media player ownership survey results were calibrated to life-to-date unit sales from the NPD Retail Tracking Service.

Millennials are on the road to building smarter homes. According to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Home Automation Advisory Service, Millennials are twice as likely as the total population to have a smart home product installed in their residence.

The array of smart home products evaluated include network connected security and monitoring devices, sensors, system controllers, smart lighting, power, and appliances. One-in-four Millennials (23 percent) already installed at least one of these products in their homes, compared to 12 percent of the total population. Millennials will continue to drive the growth in this market as four-in-ten (41 percent) of this age group are already aware of and interested in owning smart home products.

A key factor that is driving this early growth is that the smart home market is no longer just for home owners. Renters are as likely as home owners to have smart home products installed, and are three times more likely to be part of the millennial age group.  More than a third of renters are between the ages of 18-34.

“Today’s smart home products no longer require professional installation and ongoing subscriptions, many are now plug-and-play options,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence.  “The product mix such as smart cameras, lights, and plugs, fits the lifestyle of both home owners and renters which opens up a larger, younger and more tech-savvy consumer market.”

“The mix of home automation products and services, their ease of use, and affordability makes some form of integration a reality for the majority of U.S. consumers,” said Buffone.  “The single biggest hurdle to further adoption is educating consumers on the wide array of new smart home products and services that are rapidly becoming available.”


The results are based on an online survey conducted in March 2015 to a sample of 5,559 individuals that indicated they were the head of their household.  All data is reflective of the U.S. Internet homes.

By the end of 2014, there were 18.3 million actively connected tablets in the U.S., a 90 percent increase from 2013, according to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Mobile Broadband Market Share and Forecast Report.  Aggressive promotions that heavily discounted or gave away tablets, carrier subsidies, and simplified service plans helped add more than 8.7 million new cellular tablet customers last year.

Over the next couple of years, however, the growth in active cellular tablet subscriptions is expected to slow down.  According to the report, the tablet activation growth will slow down to 30 percent in 2015 and then to 10 percent in 2016, compared to the 90 percent growth in 2014. However, cellular connected tablets will still continue to be an important factor in boosting active connection base for U.S. wireless carriers.

“One of the major reasons we expect to see the cellular tablet connection growth slow down over the next couple of years is the cannibalization by larger smartphone screens,” said Brad Akyuz, Director, Connected Intelligence. “As demand for smartphones boasting a large (5.0-inch plus) screen continue to increase, the value proposition of the tablet serving as a second screen diminishes. The new growth opportunities for the carriers will be in the wearables space as cellular embedded wearable devices are poised to be widely available by the end of 2016.”


The Mobile Broadband Market Share and Forecast Report is published quarterly and uses a mix of various proprietary sources including NPD’s consumer panel and point-of-sale data, as well as public sources such as U.S. wireless carrier financial and operational KPI data to size the U.S. mobile broadband market by device type, carrier and revenue.


Smartwatch ownership in the U.S. is forecast to reach 9 percent of the U.S. adult population by 2016, closing in on activity trackers.  According to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Wearables Forecast, as smartwatch penetration grows, activity tracker penetration will begin to plateau.   By the end of 2016 activity tracker ownership will have peaked at 32 million after growing significantly for four years. 

“The smartwatch will clearly begin to take a bite out of the activity tracker market moving forward,” said Eddie Hold, vice president, Connected Intelligence. “The fact that the health and fitness apps on smartwatches are a key marketing focus will help draw consumers away from the simpler trackers.”

The activity tracker, however, is not just under threat from the smartwatch but actually from itself as well. Counting the number of steps taken on a daily basis is only a small part of the activity trackers’ appeal, therefore limiting the addressable market size for these devices. In fact, 40 percent of activity tracker owners stop using the device within six months.

“The good news for activity trackers is that we are seeing a clear opportunity at the more sports-focused end of the landscape,” continues Hold. “There is demand for a more sophisticated class of activity tracker that supports GPS and heart rate monitoring, while also being a little more rugged and waterproof. And while we see the simpler fitness trackers potentially hitting a wall, these advanced devices will continue to drive adoption.”

But more than simply devices, both the smartwatch and the activity tracker markets will be defined by the available apps over the coming year. Third party activity apps will be key to both the growth of the sport-related activity tracker market, and to the long-term stickiness of the smartwatch use.

“While all of these new products will definitely help drive demand, the real test will be the apps for the smartwatches,” said Hold. “There will definitely be a demand for these devices and the use-case will follow, but smartwatch manufacturers and app developers need to make these products become ‘need to haves’ rather than ‘nice to haves’.”


Connected Intelligence Wearables Forecast

Five thousand U.S. consumers, aged 18+ responded to an online survey in Q1.  The consumers reported their awareness of, ownership of, and intent to own wearable devices.  In addition, several questions in the report were fielded using Civic Science. Civic Science provides the leading intelligent polling and real-time insights platform, partnering with hundreds of premier websites to survey millions of people daily. Its proprietary technology rapidly analyzes consumer opinions, discovers real-time trends, and accurately predicts market outcomes. This service is used to examine consumer attitudes towards activity trackers and smart watches, as well as emerging wearable technology.

Millennial men aged 18-34 are the most aware and interested in subscribing directly to TV channel apps. These apps allow viewers to subscribe directly to a TV network without also requiring a subscription to a cable or satellite channel bundle.

According to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Great Unbundling of Pay TV Report, 62 percent of men 18-34 years old are aware of the currently available or announced over-the-top TV Network apps. Of those 18-34 year old males who are aware, 60 percent are extremely or very interested in direct subscriptions to one or more of those apps. The awareness and interest among this important viewer segment is significantly higher than the general population.

“Millennials’ viewing habits differ from prior generations. While many will continue to subscribe to cable and satellite TV, the growing popularity of streaming services is undeniable,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence. ”Un-authenticated network apps offer a new way to encourage younger viewers to tune-in. This increases networks’ audience reach and offers operators an opportunity to bundle attractive TV channels with their broadband services.”

These network apps, however, need to be affordable, reliable, and easy to use.  Among Millennial men who are at least somewhat likely to subscribe to a TV Network app outside of their pay TV subscription, cost is cited as two of the top three deciding factors.  These apps also need to be easy to use and have a full array of content for viewing.

“As more networks launch un-authenticated apps, viewer’s time spent watching TV will include more streaming hours,” added Buffone. “Viewers’ interested in network apps are cost-conscious and content hungry which will make it challenging to find the optimal balance between affordable rates and delivery of premium content and in-app features. Ultimately, distribution through un-authenticated networks apps is a positive step towards keeping Millennials plugged into prime time content.”


Great Unbundling of Pay TV Report

2,888 U.S. consumers age 18 and older were surveyed in January 2015.  Qualified survey respondents indicated they make or influence household decisions around TV subscriptions. Awareness reporting is based on those that indicated knowing that WWE, HBO, Showtime, or CBS have begun to offer (or have announced plans to offer) direct subscriptions to their programming without requiring a pay TV subscription from a cable or satellite provider.

The NPD Group announced today the launch of its new home automation point- of-sale (POS) data and advisory service. The service comprises consumer panel-based reporting, qualitative reports, U.S. point-of-sale data, and unique analysis from NPD’s leading industry experts to provide a comprehensive view of this rapidly emerging market. 

The new home automation reports from NPD Connected Intelligence include a view of the device landscape and consumer adoption and use of these home automation devices.  NPD’s POS data will track home automation security and monitoring, system controllers, and smart lighting – with additional categories being added later this year.

“The home automation market is rapidly expanding and NPD is uniquely positioned to help our clients navigate the market with our point-of-sale and consumer data,” said Ian Hamilton, president, NPD Technology. “Our data helps them to understand the size and growth of key segments and identify early barriers to adoption and how to overcome them.”

“The home automation market is being bolstered by growth in mobile devices, do-it-yourself plug and play devices, and low-cost barrier to entry solutions,” said Eddie Hold, vice president, NPD Connected Intelligence. “NPD’s new POS and advisory service is a suite of business solutions that enables our clients to make informed decisions about growth opportunities and profitability while understanding the consumer and their motivations for purchase.”

About Connected Intelligence

Connected Intelligence provides competitive intelligence and insight on the rapidly evolving consumer’s connected environment. The service focuses on the three core components of the connected market: the device, the broadband access that provides the connectivity and the content that drives consumer behavior. These three pillars of adoption are leveraged to view consumer adoption and use of home-based devices, mobile devices and the emerging wearable technology world to provide a comprehensive view of the competitive landscape, how it will evolve and what the various vendors can do to best position themselves in this evolving market. For more information: Follow Connected Intelligence on Twitter: @npdci.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results.  The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people.  Practice areas include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food / foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @npdtech and @npdgroup.

Connected TVs edged out Blu-ray Disc players to become the third most prominently owned device that delivers apps to TVs in the U.S.

According to The NPD Group Connected Intelligence Connected Home Report, as of the fourth quarter of 2014 there were 22 million connected TVs installed and accessing the Internet, a significant increase from 13 million one year ago. Ownership of Internet connected TVs is now more common than Internet connected Blu-ray Disc players, of which U.S. consumers own 20 million.  Video game consoles and streaming media players, however, are still the most used TV app platforms and rank number one and number two respectively.

Consumers’ transition from disc to digital is impacting adoption of Blu-ray Disc players and along with it their value as a digital distribution platform. This shift in ranking makes TVs a more popular digital distribution platform than Blu-ray Disc Players, although often these devices are built by the same company.


The proliferation of connected TVs will be positive for viewers and digital content distributors alike as access to streaming programming will reach more homes and more of the TVs in each home. By 2017, there will be 47 million connected TVs within 30 million U.S. Internet homes delivering content through apps, according to the Connected Intelligence Connected Home Forecast Report.  Increased sales, connectivity, and usage trends led the TV to become a more prominent connected device ahead of forecast.


“Going forward the key to success for connected TV and attached content device manufacturers will be the availability of apps from top TV networks,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence.   “This aspect of the app marketplace will become even more critical during 2015 as HBO and Showtime follow CBS and become available without a cable or satellite pay TV subscription."


Connected Home Report

More than 5,000 U.S. consumers, age 18 and older were surveyed through the fourth quarter of 2014. The number of installed and internet connected devices includes those that deliver broadband applications and must actually be connected to the Internet.  Connected TV and streaming media player ownership survey results were calibrated to life-to-date unit sales from the NPD Retail Tracking Service.

Connected Home Forecast Report

The Connected Home forecast is based on NPDs quarterly Connected Home surveys conducted among more than 5,000 U.S. consumers, age 18 and older.  Using the NPD Consumer and Retail Tracking services, historical installed base reporting is mapped to sales trends for each device category. Coupled with internet connection rates, these data are used to project a view of the connectable and connected device installed base. 

As of the fourth quarter of 2014, there were 116 million tablets in use among U.S. consumers. Nearly 16 million of these tablets were actively using a cellular data plan, an increase of 95 percent over the past year.  According to the NPD Connected Intelligence Connected Home Report, cellular activations are more common among more educated and more affluent consumers. 

Tablet owners who connect through cellular data plans possess a very different demographic profile than their Wi-Fi tablet using counterparts.  Among the characteristics, income is the most prominent.  Cellular tablet owners have an average household income of $105,000 versus Wi-Fi tablet owners whose average annual income is $17,000 less.

“Cellular-embedded tablet use is growing rapidly, however, for it to become a mass market product mobile carriers need to appeal to a mass market audience,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence. “While 2014 marked the year consumers activated cellular enabled tablets, 2015 must become the year this technology reaches a broader demographic audience. Access to Wi-Fi at home and work is the primary barrier to adoption, so messaging from carriers must emphasize on-the-go activities. In particular, navigation, email, and posting photos and videos are the primary activities used more frequently when consumers connect their tablet to a data plan.”


Connected Home Report

More than 5,000 U.S. consumers, age 18 and older were surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2014.  Tablet ownership survey results were calibrated to life-to-date unit sales from the NPD Retail Tracking Service.