50 Percent Rather Read on Screens • Nxtbook Media

50 Percent Rather Read on Screens

Written by Joy Beachy

At the end of 2011, Gartner, Inc surveyed early tablet adopters in the US, UK, and Australia to discern how they were using their devices, including media tablets, PCs, and smart phones. For seven days respondents recorded their daily behaviors on these devices, and Gartner analyzed the data. You can read last week’s press release about it by clicking here.

Out of the study, some key behaviors emerged which publishers hoping to reach mobile audiences need to embrace:
1. 81% of tablet users checked email. Checking email on tablets is popular. If you’re metrics show your audience embraces technology and your primary mode of distribution is through email, you need to consider a mobile-friendly solution for readers who click an email link on their tablet.
2. "50% of media tablet owners prefer to read news, magazines and books on screen, rather than on paper." It’s not newsworthy to say your audience is shifting online. That is old information. The trend we’re watching is of readers shifting from preferring print, to preferring a mix of digital and print, to preferring screen reading.
3. "On average, one in three respondents used their media tablets to read a book, compared with 13 percent for mobile PCs, and 7 percent for mobile phones."This survey was given to early tablet adopters, so there is a bias for using tablets. However, the data still points to readers enjoying tablet screen size for reading. Our own statistics reveal 15% of our readers use a mobile device to access our clients’ content. (This includes tablets and phones.)

A particularly poignant quote in an article covering this survey came from Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner: "The ongoing convergence of previously distinct devices seems to be turning the market for consumer devices from hardware-centric to usage-centric…These respondents, early adopters of media tablets, said they use their multiple devices interchangeably, rather than substituting one device for another. They seek to use whichever device is at hand – or the most convenient to use at a particular time and for a specific task."

While the survey was among tablet users, it highlighted the fact that users tend to have more than one device, and they will use whatever is the most convenient for them to access your content. The expectation is being set that publishers will be ready to push to all of those devices.

The research is already dated: are you positioned to execute on the behavior the study shows, or do you need to play catch-up?