Tablets, Smartphones Replacing Other Consumer Electronics: CEA

The household penetration rate of tablets is up 17 percent year over year, while the penetration rate of smartphones is up 12 percent.

Smartphone and tablet owners are spending less time using stand-alone consumer electronics devices such as digital cameras, according to the research study "A Tale of Two Techs—Smartphone and Tablet Adoption and Usage," conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association.

With the exception of notebooks, smartphones and tablets are being used more often and for more activities compared with most stand-alone devices. Smartphones have become the primary device for taking pictures (78 percent), recording videos (74 percent), getting directions (69 percent), reading ebooks (62 percent), listening to music (59 percent) and playing games (39 percent), according to the study.

In addition, smartphones are frequently being used to take pictures (92 percent), make voice calls (91 percent) and navigate (76 percent). Conversely, tablets are used for more leisurely activities such as playing games (78 percent), watching videos (66 percent) and reading ebooks (61 percent).

The study found that 85 percent of smartphone owners browse the Web and 89 percent check email on their devices. Among tablet owners, 92 percent browse the Web and 83 percent use their tablets to check email. However, the survey revealed that notebooks and desktops remain the primary devices that smartphone and tablet owners use to browse the Internet, shop online, watch videos, and view or edit documents.

"Smartphones and tablets have enriched, diversified and transformed the ecosystem of consumer electronics," Rhonda Daniel, senior manager of market research at CEA, said in a statement. "As a result, mobile device owners are re-proportioning the time they spend using other stand-alone CE [consumer electronics] devices. While many single-function devices continue to play a distinct and relevant role in our digital lives, consumers are gravitating toward connected mobile devices able to perform multiple functions."

The household penetration rate of tablets is up 17 percent year over year, while the household penetration rate of smartphones is up 12 percent year over year. In households that own notebooks, 43 percent of smartphone owners and 46 percent of tablet owners report spending less time with their notebooks. However, very few users indicate they have stopped using their notebook computers altogether (1 percent among smartphone owners, 2 percent among tablet owners).

So which devices are consumers most likely to stop using altogether as a result of owning a smartphone or tablet? Camcorders, portable audio and MP3 players, portable game devices, GPS or navigation devices, and dedicated e-readers, according to the study.

Navigation systems in particular are facing a very uncertain future: An April 20 report from Berg Insight found the growth in the use of mobile devices and turn-by-turn navigation apps comes at the expense of global shipments of personal navigation devices (PNDs), which declined to 28 million units in 2012 from 33 million units in 2011.

Although shipments of PNDs are still growing in markets such as Eastern Europe, South America and India, this growth is not fast enough to compensate for the decline in mature markets, and smartphone and tablet growth in these markets is also skyrocketing. Based on these factors, Berg forecast that global PND shipments will decline to about 17 million units in 2017.