Monday, May 25th, 2015

When we think of obsolete technology, things like VCRs, film cameras and old box TVs quickly come to mind. But even more recently launched (and bought) items like DVD players, digital cameras and iPods have now all passed their adoption peaks—and Australian households are perhaps just throwing them away, technology ownership data from Roy Morgan Research shows.  

In 2000, 1 in 40 had a DVD player. Just four years later, over half of homes had one, and by 2008 they were in 75% of homes. And then… decline. While some households, of course, were only then buying their first DVD player, these late-adopters were outnumbered by those discarding (or recycling) them. Since the 2008 peak, over 800,000 homes got rid of (at least one) DVD player.

It was a similar story for digital cameras. Remember how amazing they were? You could take a photo, see it straight away, and then save through a cord to your computer’s hard drive, and email through Hotmail as an attachment to your family and friends. From 2000 to the peak in 2009, almost 5 million households (60%) got a digital camera. By then, though, you could take a photo on a phone and display it directly to your social network. So half a million homes chucked their digital cameras away.      

And because we can now carry music on our phones, household iPod ownership seems also to have peaked after a decade of yearly growth. In 2013 2.8 million homes (32%) had at least one iPod—but over the next year this declined by 117,000 to 30% of households.

Proportion of Australian households that own technology item:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, January 20000 –December 2014. Average annual sample n = 54,034 Australians 14+

But the rate we’ve discarded DVD players and digital cameras is no match for how quickly we got rid of our old box TVs when flat screens came in. In 2000, almost 6.7 million homes (94%) had an old, non-flat TV. Today, it’s only a little over a million homes (a little over 11%), and 7 million (78%) contain (at least one) flat screen TV. 3D TVs, however, have been slower to take off: since 2010, around 950,000 homes got a 3D TV (almost 11%).

So just as homes with VCRs still outnumber those with Blu-Ray Players, those with non-flat television sets still (just barely) outnumber those with 3D TVs—but the trends suggests this should finally change in 2015. 

Tim Martin, General Manager - Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Almost a third of Australian households (2.75 million) bought one or more types of new, additional or replacement entertainment technology in 2014. 1.25 million homes got a flat-screen TV, 425,000 a Blu-Ray player and—even though they’re prevalence is in decline—400,000 a DVD player. But, proving that some technologies never die, an estimated 58,000 got a non-flat TV, 44,000 a VCR and 34,000 a film camera.

“There are perhaps signs that we are getting tired of having to throw everything out and start again when new technology emerges. The vast majority of us went out and got a DVD player (and plenty of DVDs) and a flat-screen TV. But Blu-Ray Players and 3D TVs have made far less of an impact. While the newer technologies were perhaps less game-changing than their precursors, it might have also been a case of ‘too soon’ for many households. 

“Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments are a useful and accessible tool to help technology brands, retailers and marketers understand where different technologies sit with early adopters, the professional mainstream, older explorers, traditionalists and technophobes.”  

Contact Profile

Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
P: 03 9224 5332


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