Technology adoption shows faster uptake and increased fragmentation

Forrester’s
recently completed DTV, DVR and HDTV forecast demonstrates some important
dynamics of technology adoption.  The first is that the pace of technology
development continues to accelerate.  When analog television was first
launched, it took nearly 20 years for color TVs to penetrate more than 50% of
American homes.  Forrester’s data shows that HDTVs will reach 50% of US
households in 2010, roughly 13 years after the first HD sales.

 

 

 

 

2009

2010

HDTV
Households, (Own an HDTV)

 

 

          
57.8

          
67.8

As a % of TV HHs

 

49%

57%

 

 

Another
general adoption trend we find relates to continued fragmentation of the
consumer marketplace.  This fragmentation drives technology products which
are more specialized for particular populations.  As a result, while
penetration among ever smaller consumer segments may be high, the overall
penetration of US households which technologies achieve tends to be
lower.  A good example is portable digital music players which are not
reaching the levels previously seen for portable tape or CD.

 

The speed
of adoption, which relates to many marketplace issues including improved
distribution and improved communications networks, and consumer fragmentation
are but two considerations among many which Forrester analyzes case by case as
we address
forecasts. In the case of HDTV, a quick
scroll through some retailer web sites shows the importance that supplier
influence can hold.  One quickly sees that HD sets dominate retail
assortments with non-HD sets becoming increasingly hard to find.  As we
progress through the usual lifecycle of replacing and upgrading, the number of
HD households will continue to grow, further encouraged by improved terrestrial
signals and new Pay TV offerings which include enhanced picture quality. 
So, in contrast to the broader trend of fragmentation, HDTVs will likely
penetrate as deeply as analog color TV because consumers lack an alternative.