Chromecast usage dips, sales flatten out, report says

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has a sizable stake in the online-streaming-device market with its Chromecast streaming stick, but use of the device in the United States dipped in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the last two quarters of 2013, a Parks Associates study reveals.

And although ownership of streaming devices overall is climbing--from 14 percent of U.S. households in 2012 to 20 percent today--Chromecast adoption was flat in Q1. Just 6 percent of U.S. households own a Chromecast device, and that number hasn't changed since the last two quarters of 2013.

The Chromecast device was launched last July in the United States. Google expanded the device's availability to 11 countries in March and to 18 more countries in early June.

"Streaming media players are starting to play a bigger role in home entertainment, but interest in new entry Google Chromecast is waning," said John Barrett, director of consumer analytics for Parks, in a news release. "Streaming media players, thanks to their ease-of-use, trail only game consoles and smart TVs as the most frequently used streaming media device in the home. By contrast, only about 22% of Chromecast owners say it is the most frequently used streaming device in their home."

Usage habits play a role in how consumers eventually use devices such as the Chromecast, said Brett Sappington, Parks Associates' director of research. Last summer consumers took advantage of the device's low cost, $35, to buy it and try it out. "Over time, however, owners developed a better understanding of Chromecast's usefulness and appropriate niche in the video-viewing environment," Sappington said.

According to the report, the proportion of Chromecast owners who use the device at least monthly to watch online video on their television dropped from 78 percent in the third quarter of 2013 to 73 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

The number of U.S. households that have some kind of Internet-connected consumer device--whether a Roku, a game console such as an Xbox or PlayStation, a Blu-ray player, a smart TV or a digital media receiver--is approaching 70 percent, the report found. Parks surveyed 10,000 broadband households in the first quarter.

Parks Associates CE

Households with Internet-connected consumer equipment, 2010-2014. (Source: Parks Associates)

For more:
- see the release

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