Tablet-First. Is it a thing? (TUPdate)

Tablet-First. Is it a thing? – a TUPdate by Dan Ness, February 17, 2017

Which comes first – Smartphone? Tablet? Notebook? For a small and steadily growing segment, the tablet comes first as the primary connected device.

Over the last three years, the share of connected adults using a tablet as their primary device has expanded. In our 2014 wave of TUP, we found that 6% of adults were using a tablet as their primary device – before a PC, mobile phone, or game console. In TUP 2015, the Tablet-First rate had grown to 7% and by TUP 2016, reached 9%.MetaFacts-td1702-tablet-first-trend-metafacts-tup-2014-2016-2017-02-16_10-02-19

It’s not as if these Tablet-First users are only using a tablet. Among Tablet-First users, half (50%) use a Smartphone as their secondary device, followed distantly by a Tower Desktop (15%), Basic cell phone (10%), and Notebook PC (9%).

Tablets are also popular as second devices, with 17% of connected adults regularly using one as their secondary device. Half (50%) of these Tablets-Second users have a Smartphone as their primary device, followed by a Tower Desktop (23%), and Notebook PC (15%).

Who are these Tablet-First users?

Older women use a tablet as their primary device at a higher rate than other age/gender groups. Females age 35 and up have a higher Tablet-First rate than any other gender/age group.MetaFacts-td1702-tablet-first-metafacts-tup-2016-us-2017-02-16_09-43-52

Besides age or gender distinctions, Tablet-First users aren’t especially technology early adopters or laggards, nor are they primarily lower socioeconomic groups which might be thought to not be able to afford notebooks or smartphones.

Tablet-First users do skew slightly higher among adults with less-than-average educational attainment, with 23% having a high school education or lower, somewhat higher than the 19% rate among connected adults.

Looking more deeply at how older women use tablets differently from younger women or other men, another pattern stands out. Older women use tablets for a broader range of activities than other age/gender groups. They simply get more out of these devices. This includes any tablet they use – not only the ones used as the primary device.MetaFacts-td1702-tablet-first-most-broadly-active-by-gender-age-2017-02-17_10-45-44

Analyzing the top-third most-broadly-active by number of tablet activities by age and gender groups, females age 45 to 64 stand out. They are 24% higher than the national average than other age/gender groups based on how many activities they regularly do with their tablets. In contrast, males 65+ and 25-34 have the lowest levels of broad usage, indexing at only 75 or lower.

What other devices do they use?

Tablet-First users may choose to primarily use their Tablet, yet most have other devices. Three-fourths of Tablet-First users regularly use a PC, and over three-fourths (77%) regularly use a Smartphone. They have other mobile devices, such as a Notebook (42%) or a Home Notebook (36%). Another 36% have a second PC.MetaFacts-td1702-tablet-first-other-devices-2017-02-16_10-29-09

The clear majority of Tablet-First users have more devices than their tablet – 99% have 2 or more. Eight-five percent have 3 or more connected devices they regularly use.

What are these Tablet-First tablets used for?

The users of Tablets as their primary device are busy with their tablets, checking email, shopping, having fun, and social networking. Over half of adults using a tablet as their primary device regularly use it for a wide range of activities. While checking personal email ranks at the top, shopping is nearly as strong.

What’s notably absent from the list of major activities are more-intensive productivity or graphical activities such as creating presentations. Instead, many of the major activities can be adequately done with a tablet that may or may not have an external keyboard.MetaFacts-td1702-tablet-first-activities-2017-02-16_15-29-21

Whose Tablet is used first more than others?

Apple’s iPad is the undisputed leader among the Tablet-First group, representing 57% of the installed base. The nearest contender is Samsung, with only a 10% share. Although Microsoft may begin to make inroads with their recently revamped Surface line, the current share is only 3%.

Looking ahead

Several aspects stand out from these results. While age-affected eyesight may contribute to older adults preferring devices with larger screens, it’s not as simple as age. So, I don’t expect tablet-makers to rush out to build ever-larger tablets as the population ages. It’s only among females that Tablet-First rates are highest, not among males. Also, when separating genders, rates don’t increase with age. The choice of activities is a big factor, as simple activities from online shopping to game playing and social networking are easily done with a tablet, and each benefit from having a larger screen.

Definitionally, the market is likely to get muddied for regular consumers. As notebook companies continue to innovate with convertible and 2-in-1 designs, the fuller functionality of notebooks is being integrated into devices as mobile as tablets. Furthermore, smartphone makers continue to experiment with larger screens. Also, Apple continues to position its popular iPad as a fully-functional “Super. Computer.” computing device.

For these Tablet-First users, though, who appear to be functioning well with a broad collection of devices, it seems unlikely that one single device will capture their hearts and fingers.

About this TUPdate

This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on the most-recent results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2016 survey, its 34th wave, with 7,334 respondents (US). For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Resources

Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.

This TUPdate was based on results in the TUP 2016 Chapter – Devices, Section DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices from TUP 2014, TUP 2015, and TUP 2016. Also, activity data was selected from Tablet Activities (Rows 670 ACT_TAB).

Related MetaFAQs

The following related MetaFAQs address questions included in this TUPdate.

MetaFAQs Question TUP Reference
mq0005 How prominent is remote printing from tablets? Chapter: G Tablets  Section: G1-TAB/Tablets  Tables: [670 ACT_TABxTAB] Tablet PC Activities
mq0038 Who uses their Smartphone as their primary connected device? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [120 DRxDEV_PRIM] Respondent Demographics
mq0055 How are Tablets used differently than Notebook PCs? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A1-OV/Overview  Tables: [670 ACT_TABxOV] Tablet PC Activities
mq0059 How many Tablet PCs are used to make phone calls? For video calls? Chapter: G Tablets  Section: G1-TAB/Tablets  Tables: [670 ACT_TABxTAB] Tablet PC Activities
mq0063 Who are the Apple-only users? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D3-DEV_ECO/Device OS Ecosystems  Tables: [120 DRxDEV_ECO] Respondent Demographics
mq0083 How many adults regularly take pictures with their connected devices? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D5-KEY_DEV/Key Devices  Tables: [590 ACT_IMGxKEY_DEV] Graphics/Image Activities
mq0122 How are Smartphones used differently than Tablet PCs? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A1-OV/Overview  Tables: [700 ACT_SPxOV] Smartphone Activities
mq0126 What is the primary communication device among Tablet owners? Chapter: G Tablets  Section: G1-TAB/Tablets  Tables: [570 ACT_COMMxTAB] Communication Activities
mq0157 How prominent is printing images from tablets? Chapter: G Tablets  Section: G1-TAB/Tablets  Tables: [670 ACT_TABxTAB] Tablet PC Activities
mq0181 How are Smartphones used differently than Tablet PCs? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A1-OV/Overview  Tables: [670 ACT_TABxOV] Tablet PC Activities
mq0220 Is there an age skew for Apple iPads? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A4-AGE/Age Ranges  Tables: [250 DEV_KEYxAGE] Key Device Metrics
mq0263 Of those who use a Smartphone as their primary connected device, do they have more Windows, Android, or Apple devices? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [270 DEVxDEV_PRIM] Devices
mq0300 Of those who use a Notebook PC as their primary connected device, do they have more Windows, Android, or Apple devices? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [270 DEVxDEV_PRIM] Devices
mq0304 Is there an age gap between those who communicate primarily with their Smartphones, Tower Desktops, Notebooks, and Tablets? Chapter: L Activities  Section: L3-ACTCOMM/Communications  Tables: [120 DRxACTCOMM] Respondent Demographics
mq0377 What is the most popular combination of connected devices? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D1-COMBO/Device Combinations  Tables: [250 DEV_KEYxCOMBO] Key Device Metrics
mq0378 Of those who use a Smartphone as their primary connected device, what other device have they used for most of their life? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [160 ADOPTxDEV_PRIM] Technology Adoption
mq0379 Of those who use a Smartphone as their primary connected device, what are their 2nd and 3rd devices? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [250 DEV_KEYxDEV_PRIM] Key Device Metrics
mq0397 Can Apple rightly claim to have captured the biggest tech spenders? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D6-KEY_DEV_OS/Key Devices by OS  Tables: [790 SPENDxKEY_DEV_OS] Tech Spending
mq0460 Is there an age or gender skew to connected music listening? Chapter: M Consumer Electronics  Section: MU-MUSIC/Music Players, Services, or Listening  Tables: [120 DRxMUSIC] Respondent Demographics
mq0474 Is there an age skew to TV watching, whether through through any combination of traditionally subscribed services (cable, satellite), over-the-top set-top boxes, or using a Connected Device? Chapter: M Consumer Electronics  Section: MT-TV_DEVACT/TVs, Boxes, or Services, TV or Video Watching  Tables: [120 DRxTV_DEVACT] Respondent Demographics
mq0495 What else do Apple Mac users own more often than the average Connected Adult? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D6-KEY_DEV_OS/Key Devices by OS  Tables: [250 DEV_KEYxKEY_DEV_OS] Key Device Metrics
mq0530 Of those who use a Smartphone as their primary connected device, how many connected devices do they actively use? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [490 UNITSxDEV_PRIM] Units
mq0531 Of those who use a Smartphone as their primary connected device, what are they planning to buy next? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [810 PLANSxDEV_PRIM] Purchase Plans
mq0535 Are the productivity-oriented Smartphone users very different in age from the average Connected Adult? Chapter: L Activities  Section: L8-ACTPROD/Personal/Productivity  Tables: [120 DRxACTPROD] Respondent Demographics
mq0626 Of those who use a Tower Desktop PC as their primary connected device, what are their 2nd and 3rd devices? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [250 DEV_KEYxDEV_PRIM] Key Device Metrics
mq0628 Of those who use a Tower Desktop PC as their primary connected device, how many connected devices do they actively use? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [490 UNITSxDEV_PRIM] Units
mq0629 Of those who use a Notebook PC as their primary connected device, how many connected devices do they actively use? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [490 UNITSxDEV_PRIM] Units
mq0630 Of those who use a Desktop PC as their primary connected device, what are they planning to buy next? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [810 PLANSxDEV_PRIM] Purchase Plans
mq0631 Of those who use a Notebook PC as their primary connected device, what are they planning to buy next? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D2-DEV_PRIM/Primary and Secondary Devices  Tables: [810 PLANSxDEV_PRIM] Purchase Plans
mq0677 How many adults use a Tablet using Apple iOS, Google Android, or Windows? Chapter: D Devices  Section: D6-KEY_DEV_OS/Key Devices by OS  Tables: [250 DEV_KEYxKEY_DEV_OS] Key Device Metrics
mq0663 How many users make video phone calls using their Tablet? Chapter: A User Profile  Section: A1-OV/Overview  Tables: [670 ACT_TABxOV] Tablet PC Activities

 

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