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Summary:

A new survey conducted by Google-owned mobile ad company AdMob breaks down how people are using their tablets, which at least so far, in most cases means the iPad. The survey’s nearly 1,500 respondents revealed some interesting trends regarding tablet usage.

admob-tablet-use

A new survey (PDF) conducted by Google-owned mobile ad company AdMob breaks down how people are using their tablets, which in most cases so far, means the iPad. The survey’s nearly 1,500 respondents revealed some interesting trends regarding tablet usage.

Gaming (84 percent), search (78 percent) and email (74 percent) led the way in terms of how users are spending their time with their tablets, and surprisingly, entertainment consumption (music and video) and reading e-books ranked among the least common activities, with only 51 percent and 46 percent respectively. Shopping online occupied the lowest percentage among specifically polled options, with only 42 percent of respondents confirming they used their tablets to buy from the internet.

While tablet users may not all be using their devices for reading e-books, they still spend more time on average with their iPads than they do reading paper books. And the survey found that nearly half (43 percent) of those surveyed now spend more time with their tablet than they do with their desktop or notebook computer, and 77 percent spend less time on their notebooks or desktops than they did before getting a tablet. That’s impressive for a device that was mostly marginal and almost non-existent in the consumer space before last year, but only 28 percent said it’s their primary computer, which lines up with a survey performed in November of last year that found the same. Even so, that number seems quite large when you consider that the iPad is still essentially a tethered device in many ways.

Even more impressive is that over a third (34 percent) of respondents indicated that they use their tablets more than they use their televisions. That’s a good indicator that the many recent attempts to bring cable and live TV programming (like the Time Warner Cable, Cablevisionand ESPN apps) to the iPad is a smart move for media companies struggling to keep audiences intact amid considerable upheaval in the way people consume media.

One final takeaway is that, as Mark Zuckerberg once claimed, the iPad does not appear to be a true mobile device in the minds of most users. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they primarily use their tablet at home, while only 11 percent said they use them most often “on the go.” The remaining 7 percent said they use the iPad mostly at work. Maybe that’s because, as my colleague Kevin Tofel is often quick to note, the iPad’s 9.7-inch form factor is not easily pocketable, and it remains a much more popular tablet than the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Unlike survey respondents, web browsing, social media and news consumption take up the majority of my time with the iPad, though I do agree that I use traditional computers less and primarily only use the iPad at home. Do these answers line up with your own iPad (or other tablet) experience?

  1. Glen willer Friday, April 8, 2011

    This post hit the nail right on the head. I bought my iPad last Friday and really haven’t been on my MacBook unless I need to.

  2. Anti-iPad people will yell see told you it was a toy….but those same uses are the reasons people buy laptops and desktop computers too.

  3. while this survey is probably exactly right, considering the nature of iOS & the size of the iPad.

    my bet is though that perceptions of tablets in general will change when a more serious OS like Android begins to rise & the 7″ form factor becomes popular as well.

    I love tablets, I am sick of bad form factor/moving parts laptops.

    1. Serious OS? Android? BWAAA-HAHAHAHAHAHA ROFLMA,,hehehe…thanks…damn I needed a good laugh to start the day….

    2. I disagree with the way you dismiss iOS. It has many features that are better, and make it easier to use than an android device, and lots of possibilities that are there for Apple to pick up at any time. Not that I’m saying that iOS is better than android in all the ways, android can do many things that iOS can’t do too. You just have to be more open minded, and realise that iOS is primary consumer device, and only then, a business device or a device for techies.

  4. relentlessfocus Saturday, April 9, 2011

    I wonder whether this “survey” tried to include the many many people using the iPad, oops, tablets, professionally?

    Personally I use mine for surfing/doing research on the net, twitter, RSS feeds, ebooks (mostly Amazon) and for light note taking and “blue sky thinking” where I don’t want to be sitting in front of a laptop or desktop.

  5. I disagree with the reasoning for why people aren’t using the iPad as a mobile device. Personally, I would absolutely use my iPad everywhere if the data plans were cheaper. If you are in a similar boat add +1 below.

  6. I use my iPad pretty much as descried by the survey, BUT I do use it for business purposes, in the office and on business trips. I have the original, WiFi-only model and if I cannot find a good WiFi hotspot, tether it to my iPhone. I had two laptops before I got the iPad a year ago; now my lone laptop (MacBook Pro, the Acer was given away), is mostly used for tasks like coding. The convenience of the iPad (use it wherever you are) and long battery life (not tethered to a power outlet) makes it a wonderful and convenient device. It really is a game changer.

    My home desktops (Win7-64, Linux) are probably used 60 to 70% less these days; ditto the TV.

  7. Darrell,
    Once again an excellent article – After reading it, I took the opportunity to write my own response on my site. I feel, and have always felt that what this really points to is the need for a smaller tablet that we take “out of the house”….perhaps I’m wrong but give it a year and we might see the iPad with a “baby brother”…despite repeated claims there never will be one.

    http://www.tcgeeks.com/why-we-need-a-7-inch-ipad-what-the-ipad-is-used-for/

    1. Apple doesnt want 7″ iPads because people might stop using their phones (look at Kevin).

      SJ himself unknowingly confirmed it when he called the GalaxyTab “pocketable”

      1. +1 to that, although I still think in the long run, say 10 years or so, we’ll migrate to larger (7″ or so) phones/tablets.

        I’ve decided not to retire until that happens, so I can write about it and reference my “early adopter ways” of 2011 and prior. (kidding!)

  8. I guess I missed it, but nowhere did I see Ipad mentioned in the survey. There were only 1,430 responses to the survey, for all you know, they were all Galaxy Tab users.
    If you want to change your title to”What are Tablets Good For” great, but there are other tablets being used not just Ipads, weather you like it or not.

  9. I think this is what hurt Android the most. Motorola and Samsung rolled out 3g Android tablets as if that was the only thing people wanted. For some reason they seem to think that everybody would love to ditch their wifi connections for 3g. I rooted my phone and added a tether app for my macbook, and my cr48 has built in 3g available to use at no cost.
    With that in mind. It still stands that no less than 99% of my internet use is over wifi even though it would cost me *nothing* to use 3g if I were compelled to do so. Between work and home I just have no reason to consider 3g for my phone or laptops. My home consumption is >150GB (dropbox+streaming video) while my 3g data usage sits at around 100Mb combined.

    Subways and airplanes would be an awesome use for tablets but 3g and wifi don’t reach those places anyhow. Maybe someday business will let tech fall in line with what people want.

    1. it was an agreement with the carriers, they wanted the wifi models delayed so they could get the 1st shot at initial sales.

      common sense should have told anyone that wifi tablets are even easier to develop & therefor quicker to get out (if carriers hadn’t interfered).

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