Surveys of US travelers confirm tablets are still all about about consumption of content. That has big implications for tablet makers and apps developers.
Don’t Leave Home Without Your Tablet
One recent survey of American travelers showed that for most, tablets usually come along for the trip. Nearly 70% of the 1,200 respondents to the survey take their tablets outside their home always or most of the time, which helps dispel the notion that iPads, the dominant tablet on the market, are not very portable.
The survey was one of several conducted by Cloud Nine Media, which enables sponsors to provide complimentary WiFi to users in public venues like airports and hotel. As part of the sponsorship, Cloud Nine can conduct one- or two-question surveys of users during the sign-in process, a painless way of gathering a little information on who’s doing what in these situations.
The results of Cloud Nine’s tablet-user polls are not exactly scientific, but they do offer interesting snapshots into what tablet users are doing.
For instance, one Cloud Nine survey asked people what else they are likely to be doing while using their tablet. The common responses - in order of frequency - were: watching TV, getting ready for work, or eating and drinking. Many respondents admitted that they pick up their tablet when they just need to kill some time.
When asked what they do on the tablets themselves, the largest block (36.6%) of respondents said they were conducting online searches, followed very closely by checking e-mail (32.1%). Social network activity (13.3%), playing games (8.4%), and listening to music (4.1%) were the next favored activities.
Where Are The Books And Movies?
Curiously, reading books and watching multimedia, activities one might assume would be more tablet-oriented, were not included in the list. The only thing close within the results was that 3.4% of respondents used their tablets to enhance TV viewing.
Based on these results, there’s not a lot of activities people are doing with their tablets that they couldn’t be doing with their smartphones. And there seems little support for the idea that many tablets are being used as laptop replacements.
Other than checking e-mail, there doesn’t seem to be much productivity work being done on tablets by these users. Content consumption - not creation - remains the dominant use case.
That was also the conclusion of a broader survey conducted by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, which revealed that just 21% of new iPad owners were using it for business.
Those figures should serve as a signpost for tablet app developers as to what kinds of things most people are doing with their tablets. Perhaps more importantly, given that business productivity is the target market for Microsoft’s new Surface tablet, that device may either kick open a door to a new opportunity, or crash into the reality that most people don’t really want to do serious work on a tablet.
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