Tablet use cannibalizes TV consumption and drives m-commerce, according to a new survey into the mobile media habits of 5,000 Europeans in the U.K., France, Spain and Poland.
In the U.K., 35% of tablet users regularly watch on-demand content, 40% view streamed content, and 39% are watching TV on their tablet instead of on a television set.
Smartphones, by contrast, tend to complement TV consumption rather than replacing it. That's particularly true in France, where 19% of users say they watch more TV on a TV set as a result of their mobile usage. Phones also have a more positive impact on other digital media use, driving 20% of U.K. customers to browse more on PCs, and 15% to read more newspapers online. Of tablet users, 21% read their newspapers online.
The research, carried out independently by TNS and commissioned by Orange, showed distinct differences in behavior between mobile and tablet usage. Smartphones are used to "kill time" when there is no access to other screens, while tablets are used to "save time" because they are perceived as efficient.
Bruce Hoang, group marketing director of Orange Advertising Network, said, "The findings are quite stark in their description of how people are using devices. Clearly the one-size-fits-all approach for digital content across TV, PC, smartphone and tablet does not work, and this has significant implications for content producers and advertisers."
Tablet users are bigger spenders than smartphone users, or at least more likely to spend, the survey found. Across Europe, more than 60% of tablet users have made at least one m-commerce transaction, compared to just 47% of mobile users in the survey. Overall, tablet users are 50% more likely to make a purchase than mobile users.
Mr. Hoang added, "As consumers continue to opt for their tablet over their PC, this presents advertisers with unique opportunities to capture attention, engage consumers and encourage purchasing decisions."
While use of apps is growing, the browser is proving to be the main format for accessing online content across mobile and tablet.
In the U.K., 76% of smartphone users use their mobile browser to access content, compared to 59% who use an app. The same trend is also present in tablet usage, where 78% of U.K. tablet users access the internet via search compared to 64% via apps.
Poland, where penetration of mobile-media users is still only 18%, isn't a mature market yet. The survey found that 56% of mobile media users who search the internet via browser in Poland do it from home, and 52% on the move.
Ninety percent of tablet use in Spain is at home, although 48% of respondents said they also use their tablets sometimes when they're out and about, and 34% use them at work. In Spain, 11% of tablet users watch less traditional TV and 9% read fewer printed newspapers.
Sienne Veit, social and mobile development manager at U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer, said in a statement, "The data mirrors our own experience that more consumers are interacting with brands via mobile and tablets. Brands will miss out on mobile opportunities to connect with the consumer if they don't adapt for mobile and tablets, taking into account local nuances and influencing factors such as screen size."