Non-intuitive Findings in Nielsen Tablet vs. Other Devices Survey

Source: The Nielsen Company, Q1 Mobile Connected Device Report
Source: The Nielsen Company, Q1 Mobile Connected Device Report

Source: The Nielsen Company, Q1 Mobile Connected Device Report
Source: The Nielsen Company, Q1 Mobile Connected Device Report

The main takeaway I’ve seen in commentaries about Nielsen’s study is that other electronic devices (GPS, for example) and computers are being used less because of the presence of tablet computer (mostly iPads).

Connected Devices: How We Use Tablets in the U.S.

While this appears to be true based on the survey data, there are some non-intuitive aspects to their findings. For example, people were asked about the impact of a new tablet purchase on netbook, laptop and desktop computers. They could pick one of four responses:

1. Do not use it anymore
2. Using it less frequently than before
3. Same as before
4. using more frequently than before

You might guess that netbooks would have the largest percentage when “do not use” and “use it less” are combined (let’s call this “lost interest”). However, netbooks are actually the least affected of the three computer categories with a combined percentage of 28% choosing one of those two categories. Desktop PCs are more affected when a tablet enters the room with a combined percentage of 35%.

Now, let’s consider a category I’ll call single function portable devices in Nielsen’s survey. This includes GPS, Portable Gaming Console, Portable Media Player and eReader. GPS is actually the least affected in this device group with a combined lost interest percentage of 14%.. But, this makes sense since most people probably use their smartphone as a GPS and not their tablet (though it could function as one with the right car mount). Portable media players (which presumably includes both video and audio devices) and eReaders are the big loser with each having a combined percentage of 27%.

Now lets look at the three least affected (by the introduction of a tablet) devices in the survey as defined by lost interest:

– Internet connected TV: 11%
– Smartphone: 13% – with no one saying they stopped using a smartphone
– Intenet to TV Player: 11.02%

Gaming consoles connected to a TV had a combined percentage of 20% in lost interest. So, it is not simply a lean-forward/sit-back experience dichotomy. The streaming video (Internet connected TV/Internet to TV Player) experience is apparently a very appealing one based on Nielsen’s survey response.

The last non-intuitive finding I noted in the survey results is the answer to the question: Which device had the largest percentage of people saying they used it more after getting a tablet. The answer is one I would not have expected: Portable gaming console.