New Wave of UK Tablet Buyers Represents Significant Opportunity

Second annual CCS Insight Tablet User Survey reveals high level of purchase intention among non-tablet owners and increasing interest in mobile connectivity

The rapid adoption of tablet computers in the UK shows no sign of abating. Among the next wave of users who are candidates for buying a tablet, the early mass market, almost four in 10 in the UK (38 percent) are considering getting a tablet in the next few months, according to new data from CCS Insight.

The findings, from CCS Insight's second annual Tablet User Survey, also show that for those that are considering buying a tablet, more people than before want a mobile connection, in particular 4G is of interest as a buying criterion. This is a major shift from existing tablet owners who have favoured Wi-Fi-only tablets and represents a significant opportunity for mobile operators and retailers in the UK.

However, with existing tablet owners largely ignoring the mobile retail channels for their purchases — only 10 percent purchased their tablet through a mobile channel — mobile operators and retailers face an uphill battle to win over these first-time tablet buyers.

"Britain's love affair with tablets looks set to continue as the mass market starts to get on board in 2013. These new buyers have different expectations and buying criteria from early adopters, which will shake up the market. With new buyers more interested in using their tablets out of the home than existing owners and starting to get excited by 4G, we expect to see greater sales opportunities for the UK's mobile operators and retailers," said Martin Garner of CCS Insight "although they will need suitable new data tariff plans to balance users' interest in mobile connectivity against their greater sensitivity to prices."

Tablet owners see their devices as part of their computing set-up and choose retail channels accordingly.

Tablets are starting to displace their owners' household PC as the primary computing device and, for many services, people prefer to use their tablet over their PC and smartphone when they want to use the Internet at home.

  • For tablet users the main device for Web browsing is now the tablet (60 percent of respondents) not their desktop or laptop computer (28 percent)
  • This has been driven by portability (55 percent) and convenience (45 percent) — being able to use the tablet wherever you are in the house.
  • Similarly for social networking, the tablet is the primary device for 44 percent of the survey, compared with a PC (21 percent), although smartphones also figure highly (16 percent).

Mobile operators and retailers have lost out, with the first wave of tablet buyers choosing to buy from traditional computing retail channels because they see tablets as part of their computing, not part of their mobile set-up.

  • Own-brand stores (32 percent), PC and electrical retailers (25 percent) and general retailers (23 percent) were popular choices.
  • Mobile operator stores (5 percent) and mobile phone retailers (5 percent) fared poorly.

Mobile connectivity and mobile usage are important to prospective tablet purchasers.

While existing tablet owners tend to use their devices mostly around the home, new buyers are interested in using tablets outside of the home more.

  • Prospective purchasers expect to use their tablets away from the home more than existing tablet users (36 percent versus 22 percent) and similarly on the commute to work (22 percent versus 10 percent).

Accordingly, mobile connectivity figures more highly in their buying criteria and interest in 4G is high particularly among male buyers.

  • Prospective purchasers are considering 4G (35 percent) and 3G (22 percent), compared with Wi-Fi-only devices (24 percent); the majority (60 percent) of existing owners have Wi-Fi-only devices.
  • 39 percent of male non-tablet owners intend to purchase a 4G tablet, compared with 20 percent of women.

The tablet is now a staple part of home life for tablet owners and many households now have more than one.

Tablet owners use their devices for a wide range of activities around the home.

  • Gaming leads the way, with 78 percent of owners gaming on their tablets, reinforcing the view that games consoles are under increasing threat from tablets.
  • Six out of 10 use their tablets for online shopping, while entertainment also figures highly. A similar figure use them for reading news and books, 46 percent of the survey watch TV in bed on a tablet and one-third use one while they're cooking.
  • More than four in 10 owners use their tablets to keep the kids occupied and one in eight use them in the bathroom.

Tablets have become shared devices, used by partners, children and relatives. But they are also quite personal devices and this is driving additional tablet purchases.

  • Four in 10 share their tablet with their partner, while a third of respondents share with their kids. Women are more likely (38 percent) to let their kids use their tablet than men (29 percent).
  • A quarter of people in the survey share their tablets with relatives.
  • Accordingly, 44 percent of tablet owners already have two or more tablets in their household.

Tablet brands being considered by prospective buyers indicate a significant shift in market share in 2013.

While Apple's 9.7-inch iPad has captured the lion's share of the first wave of tablet purchases, prospective buyers are considering a much wider range of tablets and there is high awareness of different device sizes and prices. The move to the mass market looks set to establish a range of competitors including the Samsung Note, Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire and Windows 8 devices.

About CCS Insight Tablet User Survey

CCS Insight's second Tablet User Survey provides a detailed assessment of the user habits and opinions of current tablet owners as well as purchase intentions of people who are the potential early mass market. Based on responses from 1,000 people in the UK, it allows CCS Insight's clients to answer many questions about the profile of these early adopters.

Tablet User Survey comprises a PowerPoint report and a presentation of results. It is updated once a year. The second survey so far covers the UK. We are likely to expand coverage into the following markets: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Other countries can be compiled on request.

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global telecommunications analyst company. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world.

Press Contacts

For further information contact:
Rachael Thomas
Harvard PR
+44 (0)20 7861 1627
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