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Key Trends in Tablet Use June-June 2014

By August 11, 2014 No Comments
  • Tablets used most between 8 & 9pm primarily for content consumption, with games and entertainment apps leading the pack.
  • Apps, TV and Video content consumption are top activities for tablet use.
  • Gaming is the most popular activity for tablet use, compared to social networking for smartphone users.
  • 85% of all tablet use occurs at home, this is significantly more than in home use of smartphones and computers.
  • The majority of people are ‘relaxing’ while using their tablet or iPad.

Key Trends in Tablet Use June-June 2014The tablet as we know it in 2014, has now been on the market for over four years, and is firmly established as a distinct device category between smartphones and the traditional laptop. As of January 2014, the Pew Internet Project found that 42% of Americans owned a tablet computer, this has increased steeply since their introduction onto the market and is set to rise even higher in the next few years. This week, RealityMine experts explored tablet use among Americans in 2014 using USA TouchPoints e-diary data. This study, conducted between 22nd June and 24th July has revealed key trends in iPad and tablet use in 2014.

iPad and tablet use increases steeply between 7 and 9AM, tracking a similar trend to the use of e-book readers, printed newspapers and magazines and the radio. Despite the increasing popularity of tablets and iPads, computer and mobile phone use dominates during working hours; it is only after people leave the workplace (following 6pm) that tablet use begins to pick up and mobile phone and computer use declines. While mobile phones are the American TV audience’s second screen of choice, tablets pick up in popularity in the evening – 37% of all second screen tablet use occurs at 8PM.

The most common use of tablet computers are applications (other than email), capturing 20.4% of iPad and tablet use. The most popular category used by tablet and iPad owners are gaming apps with females between 35 and 44 years of age being the segment with the most persistent use.

Two charts in the attached infographic display the proportion of total use and app use throughout the day by category; this has enabled RealityMine to efficiently identify the most popular times for different types of use via tablets and iPads. As the shade changes from light blue to grey to teal the % of total use within a category increases.

Email, electronic readers and news applications are popular functions early in the day, reflecting the high rates of media consumption before Americans leave home in the morning and during the commute to work. The use of work apps peaks at 2pm, this is most likely to be when people in the office are most keen to seek efficient solutions to work based problems.

During the evening, between 7 and 8PM, ‘video and TV’ apps have a high reach, with 34.5% of all TV and video app use taking pace at this time. We see a change in the way that tablets and iPads are used as the evening draws to a close; electronic reading of books, magazines and newspapers peaks as people begin to unwind before bed.

An interrogation into our contextual data found that the majority of Americans using tablets were relaxing during use, with minimal people telling us that they were in a working environment (ie. Home office or workplace). Only 6.7% (see figure 3) of all tablet use took place outside of home or work– this is significantly low in comparison to mobile use – however it is likely to be influenced by the network capabilities of tablets. As more people upgrade to tablets on 3G and 4G platforms it is likely that we will begin to see an increase in out of home use.

Although tablets and iPads are experiencing a huge rise in popularity, there remains speculation about their uses. Four years in and there are myriad applications available for download, the functions of these applications undoubtedly play a role in shaping the future capabilities of tablets. In his 2010 review, David Pogue of the New York Times told us that ‘the iPad is not a laptop. It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it…’ RealityMine data has certainly revealed that tablets are still predominantly used for content consumption – particularly in users’ downtime in the evening. However, Microsoft’s recent compatibility with the iPad indicates the extent of fluidity in the nature of tablet use; this is likely to continue to evolve with applications and device functionality.

You may also be interested in our blog: Are tablets mobiles or computers?