Smartphone, Tablet Users Shifting Content From PCs: NPD

Mobile devices aren't the only gadgets drawing consumers off their home computers. Web-connected smart TVs are also growing more popular for online content viewing.

Consumers are still using their computers for many of the core PC-centric activities, but the tablet and smartphone are gaining traction, according to the "Connected Intelligence Application and Convergence Report" from IT analytics company The NPD Group.

The report found 37 percent of consumers who used to access content on their PCs switched to their tablets and smartphones. Those consumers shifting their content appear to gravitate toward the world's most popular social networking site and seem most interested in Web browsing. Among tablet owners, 27 percent say they are using their PC less frequently for accessing the Internet and 20 percent say they are using their PC less frequently for accessing Facebook.

"Despite these shifts in behavior, computers will remain the fundamental content-creation device in consumers' tool box for many years to come," John Buffone, director of devices for Connected Intelligence at NPD, said in a statement. "Consumers, however, are switching their entertainment-centric behaviors to tablets, smartphones and connected TVs at warp speed. During 2013, this trend will be further perpetuated as more mobile devices become enabled with screen-sharing technologies, such as AllShare and Miracast, that allow users to bridge their mobile devices to their TV screens."

Internet browsing is still highest among PC owners at 75 percent, with smartphones following with 61 percent and tablets at 53 percent. Facebook interaction follows the same rank with PC owners at 63 percent, smartphone owners at 55 percent and tablet owners at 39 percent. More than a quarter (27 percent) of smartphone owners said they have decreased both their Internet and Facebook use on their PCs because they now use their smartphones for these activities, the report noted.

Mobile devices aren't the only gadgets drawing consumers off their home computers; so-called "smart TVs," which allow users to surf the Web and post to social networking sites, are increasingly popular. The report found 21 percent of consumers that have a TV connected to the Internet are now switching from their computer to using their TV to watch video from streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant Video.

A December report from Gartner forecast that 85 percent of all flat-panel TVs produced in 2016 would be smart TVs. Although Gartner analysts estimate worldwide unit production of flat-panel smart TVs will grow from 69 million in 2012 to 198 million in 2016, the report noted that a Web-connected TV is not essentially a game-changing competitive feature on its own. Instead, compelling features unique to the brand user interface will help rival manufacturers gain an edge and drive overall market demand.