CTA: Smartphone Ownership Rises, But TV Still Tops

Only 4% of U.S. homes lack a TV set, study finds

Eight out of 10 homes have a smartphone, but televisions continue to be the top technology device in the U.S., according to research from the Consumer Technology Association.

While the number of homes with smartphones increased six percentage points over 2016, with 27 million more phones, almost all homes (96%) have a TV set, which for decades has been the most popular tech product in the U.S.

Related: TV Screen Dominates Adult Viewing in Q4, Nielsen says

Smartphones have jumped to the No. 2 spot in tech popularity, however, surpassing DVD/Blu-ray players, which had ranked second for several years but dropped 7 percentage points (to 70% of households) as unit ownership fell by 14 percentage points to 142 million.

Smartphones and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications saw the biggest gains in ownership by household. CTA said 45% of households have at least one vehicle with driver-assist technology -- such as back-up sensors, cameras or hands-free calling.

Screens dominate the tech category.

"Three of the top five most frequently owned technology devices are products with screens -- televisions, smartphones and laptops -- and those numbers will continue to grow as one-third of consumers tell us they'll buy at least one smartphone in 2017, and one-fifth say they plan to buy a television or laptop in the coming year," said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research for CTA. "U.S. consumers are quickly embracing the rapid rise of today's 'screen culture,' demonstrating their appetite for connected devices that enable easy and accessible consumption of content of all types."

Broadcasters are looking to boost their multiscreen profile with a new ATSC 3.0 transmission standard, the rollout of which the FCC is expected to approve by year's end.

Related: TV Ownership Declines From 2009

But the screen picture was not all rosy. CTA said the high penetration of "mature" categories like TVs and tablets means more pressure on margins. It cited, for example, that despite a projected 65% increase in Ultra HD TV revenue in 2016, overall TV market revenue is not expected to increase this year.

And while the 96% of homes with at least one TV remained steady, the total number -- 308 million -- was down 3%.