Half of mobile device screen time is spent on entertainment, such as playing games, reading books, watching live TV or listening to music or the radio, according to a survey of 726 tablet owners in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia by IT research firm Gartner.
Owners of Apple and Samsung tablets spend more time—around 30 minutes extra each day—on entertainment than owners of other brands, according to the report. In addition, Apple tablet owners use their iPads most often and more than 80 percent of them are heavy users (10 or more times a day).
"Other tablet providers need to understand why owners of their tablets spent significantly less time on their devices," Annette Jump, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Unless consumers use tablets regularly and find them valuable for specific activities, they are unlikely to purchase the same brand or, indeed, any replacement tablet after a couple of years."
Unlike in Gartner's 2011 user survey, where respondents ranked brand as their top purchasing criterion, those interviewed in 2013 are considerably more interested in design and price—brand has slipped to third place. The report suggested this is because adoption of tablets has moved beyond early adopters into the mainstream, and the value proposition now needs to include late adopters, who usually opt for reliable, durable products.
The rest of tablet owners’ time is spent on communication (26 percent), such as sending emails and visiting social media sites, production activities (15 percent) such as editing videos and writing blogs and finding information (9 percent), including checking the news and weather and researching products and services.
"Of the different types of activity, people spend by far the most time on entertainment, and people often use several devices at once, so it seems we are turning into a society of multitasking, multiscreen users," Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "Tablet users, for example, continue to use tablets most in the evening, between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. This suggests the use of tablets as companions to television viewing and other living-room activities. Smartphones are used more for ad hoc research or quick sessions on social media Websites while on the move or engaged in another screen activity."
The survey also found, on average, the respondents spend four hours per day of their personal time in front of devices with screens, including tablets, smartphones and PCs, but excluding TV sets, game consoles, e-readers and MP3 players. Gartner expects the proportion of consumers choosing basic tablets over premium tablets to grow, with basic tablets accounting for almost 47 percent of new tablet shipments by the end of 2013.
"Tablet purchases in mature markets increased by 76 percent in 2012, and their rapid adoption shows no sign of abating," Escherich said. "Tablet vendors can no longer focus exclusively on early adopters. From the very beginning of the product design and development process, they must review their portfolios to ensure they have products also capable of attracting later adopters. Late first-time buyers of media tablets have different expectations and buying criteria from early adopters, and this has a significant impact on how media tablets must be marketed."