Tablets eating into time spent on traditional media

Tablets are increasingly eating into the time consumers are spending on other devices and consuming traditional media, according to new research from Forrester. A third of tablet owners polled say that they are less likely to read a book or use a PC now that they have a tablet, while a quarter say they read print newspapers and magazines less frequently, in the latest evidence that consumers are shifting to digital consumption habits. Perhaps interestingly, TV is proving relatively resilient, with just 12% of those surveyed saying they watch TV less frequently as a result of having a tablet.  The report chimes with research from Juniper that asserts that growth in the tablet market is coming at the expense of desktop PC use.

Forrester claims the chief reason tablets are not cannibalising time spent watching TV is due to the majority of those polled using both devices at the same time. A previous Forrester report found that some 85% of tablet owners use their tablets while watching TV, as the concept of dual screen entertainment continues to gather momentum. These findings are underpinned by the emergence of services such as Zeebox and Miso, designed to let consumers comment on programmes that they are watching in real time with online communities. The very fact that there is demand for these services suggests that tablets will continue to complement TV.

Meanwhile, consumers' shift to tablets is being felt more keenly in other industries, such as gaming. Forrester's report echoes separate research from GfK last year, which claims that nearly 60% of tablet owners are already ditching their traditional consoles and handheld gaming devices to play videogames on tablets.

The tablet market is continuing to see rapid expansion, with device ownership in the US doubling over Christmas to account for nearly a fifth of the population. The figure indicates huge growth, given that the market in its current guise has only really existed since Apple launched the original iPad in 2010. Although Apple has dominated the space so far, a raft of cheaper rival devices, many based on Google's Android OS and led by Amazon's Kindle Fire, are expected to lead growth over the coming year as demand for low-end tablets continues to climb. With tablet sales overtaking netbooks for the first time in Q2 last year, the device is expected to continue eating into the time consumers spend on other devices.