AdMob Survey Shows What the iPad is Good For

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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?

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