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Tablets used mainly for entertainment, says Gartner

18 September 2013, 13:07Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town - More time is spent on entertainment on mobile devices than any other activity, a survey has revealed.

A survey by Gartner showed that tablet owners primarily used the devices as entertainment tools, indicating that an era of multiple screen entertainment offerings was dawning.

"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, multi-screen users," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Entertainment made up 50% of tablet activity, followed by communication at 26%. Activities related to production such as creating content and web browsing only made up 15% and 9% respectively.

The results seem to cement the reputation of tablets as media consumption devices, rather than true computing alternatives.

Time spent

"Tablet users, for example, continue to use tablets most in the evening, between 7pm and 10pm [19:00 and 22:00]. This suggests the use of tablets as companions to television viewing and other living-room activities," said Escherich.

The survey, which was conducted in the US, UK and Australia, found that smartphones were increasingly being used as instant research devices or to engage with social media, particularly when consumers were in transit.

Samsung and Apple tablet owners are, according to the research, more likely to spend more time on the devices in entertainment activity.

These devices were used an average of 30 minutes more than those of other brands, with iPad owners in particular being classed as heavy users. They use the devices in more than 10 sessions per day, Gartner found.

"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.

She added that engagement with the device could be directly tied to future purchases.

"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."

The price of tablets has declined rapidly, especially as new entrants compete to attract customers and Gartner believes that despite the health growth in the sector, vendors have to move to distinguish their brands.

"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," said Escherich.

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