Work-at-home and online households will fuel the growth of emerging broadband services and home networking solutions, according to a report by International Data Corporation (IDC).
According to IDC, work-at-home and online households already spend more on local and long distance services than other US households, as well as enhanced calling features like Internet call waiting. The demographic profiles of the work-at-home and online segments indicate that these households are, on average, younger, more affluent, and better educated and typically exhibit higher-than-average telecom spending and awareness and interest in emerging communications services.
IDC’s report “1999 US Residential Telecommunications Survey” found that 24.7 percent of all US households conduct business from home either as telecommuters, corporate after-hours workers, or home-based business operators.
“Each of these segments requires a set of unique communications services and has different financial resources,” said Dana Thorat, a research analyst at IDC. “The corporate after-hours segment may seek extensions of sophisticated corporate communications services to extend their work day at home, while home-based business operators want to look more professional and not appear as though they operate a business out of their basement.”
After-hours households and telecommuters will also have the benefit of having their employer pay for all or part of their communication expenses, while home-based business owners have to keep an eye on their bottom lines when spending on communication equipment and services, IDC found.
PC penetration and Internet access tend to be higher among work-at-home households when compared with average US households, according to IDC. In 1999, slightly more than half of all households in the US own a PC. Online penetration among US households has risen to 30 percent, up from 25.5 percent last year.
“Clearly, consumers are clamoring to get online, and right now the PC is the primary access device,” said IDC analyst Amy Harris.
According to IDC’s research, PC and online households are more technologically savvy than average US households, and are inclined to have multiple PCs, multiple phone lines, and subscribe to services such as call waiting and voice messaging. Moreover, based on current awareness and interest survey results, online households will most likely be among the earliest adopters of emerging products and services such as high-speed Internet access, Internet call waiting, and home networking.
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