E-readers co-exist with tablets

19 April 2013

LONDON: Some 8m people in the UK own e-readers, and these devices are unlikely to be superseded by tablets, a report has argued.

Deloitte, the advisory firm, polled 2,085 consumers as part of its Media Consumer Survey 2013 to establish how consumers between 14 and 75 years old interact with media, entertainment, and information.

It found that e-readers are already present in one third of UK households, a 65% increase since 2011, while one in ten respondents planned to buy one during the coming 12 months.

"The relatively low price of e-readers, the simplicity of their technology and the availability of a large body of cheap content have been principally responsible for their runaway success," said Mark Lee-Amies, Deloitte media partner.

He admitted it was "possible that standalone e-readers will come under pressure as tablet prices continue to fall."

Neither was it clear that new product developments such as back-lit screens would be enough to ward off the threat from all-purpose tablets.

But the report noted that only 10% of survey respondents listed tablets as their preferred device for reading books, and that homes were just as likely to contain both devices as one or the other.

The overall assessment was therefore that "consumers remain to be convinced that tablets offer a better book-reading experience than either printed books or e-readers".

Reading books was listed among their top three favourite media pastimes by 39% of respondents, behind watching TV on 63% and the using internet on 42%.

Deloitte's research also found that there had been a 65% increase in the number of people buying e-books in 2012, with half of respondents saying they read more books in digital format than in hard or soft copy.

The demographic profile of e-book adopters is more likely to be female and aged 45 to 54. These consumers prefer the portability and affordability of e-books.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff