Entertainment Accounts for Half of Tablets Screen Time
Around half of tablet device screen time is spent on entertainment, such as playing games, reading books, watching live TV or listening to music/radio, according to a recent end-user survey by Gartner.
The rest is spent on communication (26%), such as sending emails and visiting social media sites; production activities (15%), such as editing videos and writing blogs; and finding information (9%), including checking the news and weather and researching products and services.
"Of the different types of activity, people spend by far the most time on entertainment, and people often use several devices at once, so it seems we are turning into a society of multitasking, multiscreen users," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Tablet users, for example, continue to use tablets most in the evening, between 7pm and 10pm. This suggests the use of tablets as companions to television viewing and other living-room activities. Smartphones are used more for ad hoc research or quick sessions on social media websites while on the move or engaged in another screen activity."
The survey, conducted in July 2013, was of 726 tablet owners in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. It found that, on average, the respondents spend four hours a day of their personal time in front of devices with screens, including tablets, smartphones and PCs, but excluding TV sets, game consoles, e-readers and MP3 players.
The survey also found that owners of Apple and Samsung tablets spend more time -- around 30 minutes extra each day -- on entertainment than owners of other brands. Apple tablet owners use their iPads most often and over 80 percent of them are heavy users (10 or more times a day). "Other tablet providers need to understand why owners of their tablets spent significantly less time on their devices," said Annette Jump, research director at Gartner. "Unless consumers use tablets regularly and find them valuable for specific activities, they are unlikely to purchase the same brand or, indeed, any replacement tablet after a couple of years."
Ms. Jump advised vendors to highlight their tablets' value propositions for particular consumer uses -- to advertise them as the best gaming tablet or tablet with the best screen for watching movies -- because this information will be highly welcomed by specific consumer groups.
Another important finding is that, whereas in Gartner's 2011 end-user survey respondents ranked brand as their No. 1 purchasing criterion, those interviewed in 2013 are considerably more interested in design and price -- brand has slipped to No. 3. This is because adoption of tablets has moved beyond early adopters into the mainstream, and the value proposition now needs to include late adopters, who usually opt for reliable, durable products. "The reduced importance of brand, coupled with increased competition, means device vendors need to be more precise in communicating the value of their tablets and overall ecosystem, beyond basic brand attractions," said Ms. Jump.
When choosing technology and services, later adopters generally prefer not to take risks and tend to look for value for money or the least expensive solution, instead of purchasing products based on brand reputation. They tend not to need as many features as early adopters, and they will often settle for a simplified version of a new product, as long as it has enough features for their needs and quality isn't compromised. Gartner expects the proportion of consumers choosing basic tablets over premium tablets to grow, with basic tablets accounting for almost 47 percent of new tablet shipments by the end of 2013.
"Tablet purchases in mature markets increased by 76 percent in 2012, and their rapid adoption shows no sign of abating," said Ms. Escherich. "Tablet vendors can no longer focus exclusively on early adopters. From the very beginning of the product design and development process, they must review their portfolios to ensure they have products also capable of attracting later adopters. Late first-time buyers of media tablets have different expectations and buying criteria from early adopters, and this has a significant impact on how media tablets must be marketed."