85% of tablet owners watch online instead of TV

watch-tablet-ipadAccording to the Quarterly Multi-Screen Usage Study from NPD DisplaySearch, 85 per cent of tablet owners and 65 per cent of smartphone owners in 15 countries surveyed view online content on their mobile devices instead of on their TVs at least some of the time.

Of the people who used mobile devices to view online content, most said that they like the ability to watch from anywhere and do not have to compete with others for control of the TV remote. Even so, about 15 per cent of tablet owners never watch online content on their mobile devices, and the main reasons cited are that the screens are too small and that the sound quality is not as good as on TV. Similarly, 35 per cent of smartphone owners never use their smartphones to view online content, and this is because of their smaller screen sizes, difficulty holding them for long periods, and poor sound quality.

The percentage of consumers who watch online content on their mobile devices instead of TVs also varies greatly depending on the type of market. For example, while 60 per cent of connected-TV owners in the US, France, Italy, and other mature markets sometimes watch content on a tablet PC, but the number jumped to 72 per cent in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, and India.

“There is a commonly held belief that the increasing popularity of tablet PCs and smartphones will cannibalise or otherwise adversely affect sales of other devices,” Patel noted. “While we see that tablet PC ownership affects the purchase of smaller-sized TVs, there has not been much impact on purchases of TVs larger than 30″. Owning smartphones has little or no effect on TV purchases.”

The report also found that 88 per cent of tablet PC owners and 82 per cent of smartphone owners use their devices at least some of the time while they watch TV. Email, Web browsing, texting, Facebook, and weather were among the top applications accessed while watching TV.

“The rise in connected mobile devices has changed the way consumers view TV and online content,” according to Riddhi Patel, research director at NPD DisplaySearch. “For many people around the world, multi-tasking with apps on smartphones and tablets while watching TV has forever changed the traditional TV-focused viewing experience.”

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