iPad users are highly engaged

28 March 2011

LONDON: Consumers owning an iPad are using it to engage in a wide variety of activities, from watching broadcast content to finding out information about products, a UK-based study has found.

Strategy agency Seven commissioned research firm YouGov to survey 1,007 iPad owners, and found that 63% saw themselves as people who normally buy "established" products, rather than as early adopters.

Almost nine in ten of those polled used their iPads each day, with one in four using it for more than two hours a day.

Web access remains the most popular iPad feature, with 75% surfing the net once every 48 hours or more, and 63% using the tablet PC for email.

Gaming recorded 48%, social networking  41%, researching goods and services 29%, reading books 25%, listening to music 21%, and shopping 19%.

In all, 35% of respondents had reduced their desktop PC usage since buying their iPad, a figure standing at 39% for laptops.

Another 53% mainly used the gadget for entertainment purposes, measured against 18% for functional reasons.

A slim majority of the panel (51%) who had read magazines in print and on the iPad preferred the digital experience.

Meanwhile, 84% of the sample agreed they would be "likely" to download a free app from one of their favourite companies.

At present, the average iPad contains 18 free apps and ten paid-for alternatives, and 16% of customers have bought a branded application.

Contributors encouraging visitors to the App Store to acquire a paid-for application incorporate possible usefulness, on 64%, content, generating 47%, and price, receiving 44%.

Recommendations from a friend delivered 27%, and advocacy by industry experts was mentioned by 15% of Seven's cohort.

Word of mouth was seen as the most powerful channel for driving awareness of apps by 53%, beating categories on the App Store with 49%, official charts on 47%, reviews' 33%, and social media's 12%.

Elsewhere, 36% of individuals who had been exposed to magazine ads on the iPad concurred that "the iPad is the best way for companies to advertise to people like them", and only 24% disagreed.

Similarly, 42% stated interactive magazine ads were more likely to hold their attention than print ads, while 31% assumed the opposite position.

"Consumers of all ages are using iPad over other devices to consume media and engage with content in totally new ways," said Kevin Sutherland, Seven's director of strategy.

"It's a lean-back medium that consumers use to access content when relaxing - especially content from their favourite brands - but they are using it for classic lean-forward activities like shopping too."

Sutherland added: "Perhaps the key insight is just how quickly a brand's presence on iPad via apps or advertising has gone from a novelty to a mandatory."

Data sourced from Seven; additional content by Warc staff