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Tablets for leisure, laptops for work: understanding the numbers

Wednesday, May 1st 2013 12:21:25pm

Oraclepoll releases research study on Canadian tablet users

(Toronto, ON) On April 17, 2013, Oraclepoll Research president, Paul Seccaspina, presented the findings of an online panel survey of 706 tablet users from across Canada at the BBM Staying Tuned 2013 conference in Toronto.

According to the survey findings, the tablet of choice among Canadians is the iPad (65%), followed by the Playbook (20%) and Galaxy Nexus (10%). The iPad is a favourite among younger Canadians (under 34: 80%) and the Playbook is the unit of choice among older ones (55+: 44%). Tablet households tend to have higher incomes, as 44% have an income of over $100,000 per annum and almost 70% over $75,000.

Current tablet penetration stands at 32% of households from across the country (source: March 2013 Oraclepoll Canada Omnibus). This is an increase of 8% over the past six months, and usage is projected to increase another 11% in the next year (according to responses from non-users).

While 68% of panelists told Oraclepoll that this is their first such device, almost two-thirds (or 66%) indicated that another person at their residence also has a tablet. When we look at who is buying tablets for others at home, it is primarily those with children, as 90% of tablet-users with 13-17 year olds and 91% of those with 6-12 year olds have two or more tablets at home.

Tablet users also have other electronic devices, as 90% have a Smartphone, 88% a laptop and 80% a desktop computer.

While the tablet does not overwhelmingly dominate any specific area of usage, it is the preferred device for reading books or magazines and to watch videos. Tablets and laptops are on an equal footing as a means by which to browse the web, view news, weather and sports and to watch TV.

Tablets rank low as a preferred device to email and to edit or create documents. They fall in the middle of the pack as a preferred device to listen to music, visit social media sites and play games. But despite what device respondents prefer to use, tablets are seen as being most useful as a device by which to browse the web.

When asked, most users (59%) responded that their laptop is for work and the tablet for play or leisure. The main reason users prefer laptops over tablets is functionality, such as the keyboard, screen size and being easier to use in general. Despite this, the paradox of the tablet is that its main detractor, namely functionality, is juxtaposed with portability as being the main reason why users like this device.

The relationship between tablets and TV is complicated. We know from the Video Consumer Mapping study (Ball State University) that 28% of media time is consumed with media multi-tasking - time spent with two or more media. This figure is remarkably consistent across age groups and does not decline until the 55-64 age cohort, where it represents 20% of media time. We were not surprised when we learned that 83% of the panelists reported watching TV last night and that 47% watched with tablet in hand; of these viewers, 17% used the tablet to obtain additional information on the program they were watching.

Frequency of coincident tablet and TV use on a weekly basis was very high; 30% of respondents claimed everyday use of TV and tablet, with another 10% using both on five or six days. This high rate of concurrent use is offset by almost 20% reporting that they never used their tablets while watching TV.

The tablet activities undertaken while watching TV vary with only one category, those seeking news and information, claiming more than 51% participation or viewership in the past week; another 37% claimed that they never did this activity. Weather updates enjoyed 48% weekly use, though 31% never sought this content. 40% reported that they had sought more information about content from a program they were viewing, but another 36% reported they had “never” made such an effort.

While many people sought more information based on what they had seen in the program, very few reported going to a TV program website (23%) or visiting a TV channel website (20%) in the past week, while 51% and 57% never undertook these respective tasks.  

24% of respondents reported using their tablet like a TV, but only 3% of respondents believed tablets would replace traditional televisions. Many (49%) believed the screens were too small and that tablets made it difficult for several people to watch at once; 5% reported that they already had a Smart TV. Only 2% believed in the ultimate primacy of tablets due to their portability with another 1% feeling it was simply “the way of the future.”

Paul Seccaspina concluded, “The big question for technology is, what is the future of the tablet which many considered to be somewhat of an oddball device - too big for some tasks and too small for others? Will it be the ‘Betamax’ of the 2010s? Has it hit a penetration ceiling? Will it be overtaken by new hybrid Smartphones that are a bridge in size and functionality between the traditional tablets and phones?”


For more information, or to schedule interviews, please contact:
Michael Zupanic, Environmental Communication Options
416-972-7404 or mzupanic@ecostrategy.ca

Founded in 1995, Oraclepoll Research Limited provides multilingual and full market public opinion polling, market research, program evaluation and consulting services. www.oraclepoll.com