Australians appetite for technology has been unabated in recent years despite soft economic conditions with tablets becoming the object of affection. More than 5 million Australians now have tablet devices – with 2.4 million tablets sold in Australia in 2012 alone. What’s more this growth is only anticipated to gain momentum in the years ahead with Telyste forecasting this annual figure will rise to 7 million by 2017.
Whilst many organisations are still grappling to understand the role of mobile, fewer are able to dedicate the time to consider the role of tablet. In fact tablets and smart-phones are often lumped into the same bucket – due to a lack of understanding of the differences in device consumption. Furthermore few also consider tablets beyond Apple – even though Android is anticipated to account for nearly 70% of tablet users by 2016 (currently controlling 36% of the Australian market).
By understanding the profile of tablet owners as well as their usage behaviours in terms of the types of content consumed, brands and publishers have an opportunity to tailor experiences to make them more relevant, engaging and useful.
What local & global research tells us about tablet users
Understanding the “who” and “when” of tablet device consumption
Over recent years, the proliferation of mobile & tablets in Australia has created a more complex digital environment for marketers. Understanding basics like the profile of tablet ownership and time of day usage by Australians can influence media buying decisions as well as support tablet strategy investment decisions.
Tablet ownership by age
Both global and local research suggests tablet penetration is higher amongst a more mature audience. The recent “Nielsen Australian Connected Consumer Report” revealed tablet ownership was highest amongst the 35 – 44 age group whilst smartphone ownership was highest amongst the 25 – 34 age group.
Peak usage time of tablet devices
Tablets like laptops tend to peak in usage terms after work / dinner – as consumers begin to settle down for the evening.
Tablet share of user time
The recent Australian IAB mobile advertising landscape report revealed the percentage of time consumers spend interacting with each device – with tablet now commanding 1 in every 5 minutes.
A device to entertain and to shop – the “why” of tablet usage
Tablets have been dubbed the new in-home entertainment device as a result of the way in which consumers are interacting with the device. According to the comScore “mobile focus in future 2013 report” some of the most popular tablet based activities include playing games (66.3%), watching video’s (50.9%) and reading books (51.2%).
But tablets aren’t solely used for passing the time away. As tablet functionality more closely resembles that of the computer or laptop, the impact tablets are influencing in-home shopping behaviour. The comScore research revealed tablet owners are twice as likely to purchase an item on their device (38%) than smartphone owners (19%).
Mojiva research delved into consumers’ preference to utilise tablets vs. smartphones for key activities and found similar trends with consumers’ preferring to use their tablet to perform entertainment based and shopping based activities. In all demographic segments, watching video/TV and reading topped the list at 63% and 48%, respectively. 45% of all respondents indicated they would use their tablet to make a retail purchase, as opposed to their mobile phone.
As tablet technology evolves rapidly, brands need to not only however consider consumer tablet interaction and behaviour today but plan for tomorrow. Tablets are classed as content consumption devices, as a result of current consumer interaction whereas laptops and desktops are used for content creation. However tablets are likely to become content creation devices of the future as tablet technology matures enabling consumers to move away from desktops / laptops in favour of tablets.
No device driven strategy should be created in isolation
Whilst it is important to understand how consumers interact with tablet devices to build relevant experiences, it is as equally important to understand the role tablet plays within the multi-screen mix. In late August last year, Google released their report “The new multi-screen world: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behaviour,” which revealed some interesting insights into how consumers move between devices to accomplish a goal.
The research found 2 predominant ways in which consumer’s multi-screen;
• Sequential screening: where we move from one device to another to complete a single goal
• Simultaneous screening: where we use multiple devices at the same time
In a sequential screen context, being able to move cross device and pick up where you left off is crucial – which means device based experiences should not be built in isolation.
SMH Tablets To Reach 70% by 2017
Mojiva Tablet Rule Report
Google Report: Navigating The Multi-Screen World
comScore Mobile in Focus Report 2013
IAB Australia Mobile Advertising Report
Nielsen Connected Consumer REport 2013