A recent study by US research firm comScore looked at over 2,000 internet users’ responses to a survey of awareness, attitudes and opinions regarding the iPad and other e-readers/tablet computers. Their findings weren’t exactly unexpected, but do offer some interesting insight into the tablet market.
“The tablet and e-reader market is developing at a breakneck pace right now, and Apple’s entry into the market is sure to accelerate mainstream computer adoption,” said comScore’s executive vice president Serge Matta.
The results showed equal awareness (65% of all respondents) for both the iPad and Amazon Kindle – no mean feat given that the latter has been on the market for more than two years whilst the iPad is yet to be released.
Looking specifically at the iPad, the most likely uses were browsing the internet (50%), and sending/reading email (48%). Reading books and newspapers/magazines, watching video storing/viewing photos and listening to music were all between 34% and 38%. Interestingly, downloading apps from the App store (26%) and playing games (arcade/puzzle, 30%; action/RPG, 22%) were the lowest likely uses.
The least surprising news to users of iPhones or iPod touches is that 43% of respondents wanted the ability to use multiple applications on the iPad at once. Well, I guess it could be surprising that only 43% wanted this feature.
Perhaps the most interesting finding, however, was that younger consumers indicated a much higher willingness to pay for news and magazines specially formatted for e-readers. In fact, 68% of 25-34 year olds are happy to pay for optimised content compared to 59% of 35-44 year olds, and even fewer people in the over 45 age bracket.
“These devices have the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the way consumers currently access digital content,” added Serge. “While only time will tell exactly how consumer behaviour will change, our research suggests that not only will a variety of markets be impacted by the introduction of these devices but also that there are substantial opportunities for those in the digital content ecosystem.”
It’s still anyone’s guess who will use the iPad and what its biggest market will be, but it looks like news and magazine content will be a welcome addition. The next problem is whether Apple has plans to expand the iBookstore to include such content, or whether publishing companies will have to make separate apps for their content. Apple is, as usual, staying tight-lipped on the matter.