Consumers Choose Tablets


Consumer connected devices are hot, with mobile devices leading the way. Sales of tablets and smartphones are showing strength, and tablets in particular have shown skyrocketing growth. But what exactly are consumers looking for when they go to purchase a tablet?

According to research from Strategy Analytics,, the tablet market will not level off any time soon. The research firm expects the overall installed base of tablet computers to surpass 780 million in 2016. The CEA, (Consumer Electronics Assn.),, also sees tablets as a strong market contender, and Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis, has called tablets “the fastest-growing product category in the history of the CE industry.”

This is high praise for the product segment, but is there more to the story? What makes some tablets stand out from others in the marketplace? A recent survey of the market by comScore,, tried to answer these questions. The survey takes a look at the demographics, habits, and preferences of tablet users.

One finding that emerged was the profile of somewhat different user groups for different tablets. Among the Apple iPad, Android tablets, and the Amazon Kindle Fire, the iPad had the highest percentage of male users, at 52.9%. The Kindle Fire was more heavily used by females (56.6%), while Android tablets were close to even, with 50.9% male and 49.1% female.

The iPad also skewed more toward the young, with 44.5% of users under age 35, as well as toward higher income brackets, with 46.3% of devices at use in households with incomes of $100,000 or greater.

However, price is not far and away the most important consideration when consumers go to buy a tablet. comScore’s survey showed that the selection of apps available for the device was equally important to price across all tablets users. These two factors both ranked as a 7.7 on a scale of 1-10 in importance, which 10 being highest. Other highly ranked factors were brand name of the tablet (7.5), the tablet’s OS (7.5), and music and video capabilities (7.4).

One factor that did not crack the top five ranked considerations when buying a tablet was having the same operating system across a user’s tablet and smartphone. Consumers do not seem extremely concerned that their devices share an OS. comScore sees this fact as a sign that market entrants such as Microsoft, which will release its Surface tablet in the coming months, could have a chance of gaining significant traction in the market. Surface will be Microsoft’s first real play in the tablet space, and consumers may be willing to give the OS a try.

However consumers make their purchase decisions, the main point is that they are purchasing. And the strength of the market means every major tech company wants a piece of it. Consumers should be prepared for the fall and winter to be packed with more new tablet releases in time for the holiday season.

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June/July 2014
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