10 Things You Should Know About Tablets

Tablet devices are all the rage among the tech set as well as non-techies. Before your association jumps on the tablet publishing bandwagon, here are 10 tidbits to know about these fun and useful gadgets.

  • Nearly one-fourth of your members are likely to own tablet devices by year-end 2012.
  • Tablets are increasingly used for business and communications purposes, not just entertainment.
  • Tablet owners frequently share their devices with others. That’s great news if you publish digital magazines and books.

1. How many people have them?

According to the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and Frank Magid Associates, roughly 12 percent of the U.S. online population owns or regularly uses a tablet device. That’s approximately 28 million people and is expected to increase to 23 percent of the online population, or 56 million people, by 2012. Forrester research estimates that 24.1 million tablets will be sold in 2011, more than double the number sold in 2010.

2. Who are they?

According to the OPA, 60 percent of tablet users are male; 48 percent are 18-34 years old.

3. Do they play well with others?

According to Nielsen research, 43 percent of tablet owners say they share the use of their tablets with someone else. This makes a great case for publishing magazines and books digitally, because they can be easily passed from reader to reader via tablet sharing.

4. What do people use their tablets for?

People use their tablets mainly for entertainment (especially to watch videos and TV and play games), to check the weather and to browse the news. Almost three-quarters of tablet users (73 percent) use their devices to read and write emails. Fifty-five percent use them for social networking.

5. Do people use tablets for business?

AdMob (now owned by Google) found that tablets are used more on weekdays than weekends, indicating their use in business settings is becoming more frequent. According to a November 2010 report from ChangeWave Research, there are six main corporate uses for tablets. Companies use tablets for:

  • Internet access (73%)
  • Checking email (69%)
  • Working away from the office (67%)
  • Sales support (46%)
  • Customer presentations – especially in the field (45%)
  • Laptop replacement (38%)

6. Is there an app for that?

People love their apps: According to the OPA, 93 percent of tablet users have downloaded apps to their device, and the average tablet owner has 20 apps on their device. The majority of tablet owners don’t mind paying for apps: 79 percent have paid for apps during the past 12 months, at an average cost of $53 over the same period. Games account for the highest percentage of paid apps (52 percent).

7. Is it worth the effort to sell our own apps?

The OPA study also found that 25 percent of app buyers prefer to buy their apps directly from publishers – not through an app store. This may be because they want content directly from the source, because they want to tie online subscriptions to offline subscriptions, or because it’s easier to hold content publishers accountable when you’ve already interacted with them directly through an app purchase. Caleb Melby writes in Forbes magazine online, “To ensure a great experience, have a nimble team in place to fix flaws and create a long-term roadmap that includes upgrades and refreshed content.”

8. How popular are tablets becoming?

International Data Corporation estimates that between now and 2015, the number of mobile device users worldwide will grow by 16.6 percent annually, and by 2015, the number of people who access the Internet through a mobile device will outnumber those who access it through personal computers or other wireless devices.

9. Which tablet devices are the most popular?

Apple’s iPad dominates the tablet market at 82 percent of all tablets sold, according to Nielsen research. Samsung claims 4 percent, Dell owns 3 percent, and Motorola snags 2 percent of the tablet market.

10. How creatively can we create and use tablet content?

A little brainstorming and some advance planning can produce a magical experience (video) for your tablet-savvy audience.

Tablets are powerful, convenient and fun devices that are taking up an increasing share of your members’ on-screen time. Keep these tidbits in mind as you start planning how to integrate tablets into your overall member communication strategy.

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