LONDON: Consumers in the UK now prefer laptops to television when ranking their "favourite piece of technology", the first time TV has not held the lead in this area.

Deloitte, the consultancy, polled 2,276 people, 28% of which gave laptops primary status, ahead of TV's 22%. Desktop PCs hit 19%, beating the 10% logged by smartphones.

Overall, the average Briton owned 9.7 devices through which media could be consumed – from DVRs to games consoles – in 2011, up from 8.7 in 2010.

This total was 20% ahead of that recorded in France and 14% higher than in Germany, indicating that the UK is the "clear leader" in this area, according to Deloitte.

Elsewhere, the company estimated that the number of people owning tablets rose from 1.3m in 2010 to 3m in 2011, with penetration peaking at 20% among 35–44 year olds.

Mark Lee-Amies, media partner at Deloitte, said: "Early adopters of tablets are expected to be male and under 35 years of age. Adoption by slightly older consumers runs contrary to historical precedent and reflects their utility for home and work use and distinctive, 'must-have' appeal."

Some 48% of households also now contain at least one smartphone, with 93% of device owners sending text messages in 2011, up from 87% in 2010.

A further 53% went online via this route, beating 32% in the previous research round. These figures stood at 43% and 24% for sending email, while gaming logged 41%, up from 27% on an annual basis.

Some 36% of the smartphone population also updated their social networking pages in this way, another double-digit increase year on year.

More specifically, 58% of 14–17 year olds using a smartphone did so for entertainment purposes, falling to 35% of 25–34 year olds, and 27% of 35–44 year olds.

The most popular new technological feature desired by the panel was the ability to transfer music, TV shows, films and similar content between devices and platforms, mentioned by 42% of the survey community.

Some 26% of respondents wanted to be able to purchase and download newspapers, magazines and books onto any device, and almost 30% would like to back up their media to the cloud, Deloitte added.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff