DUBAI: Digital habits are set to evolve rapidly in the Middle East, driven by the increasing uptake of devices such as smartphones and tablets, a study has argued.

A survey of web users by research firm The Nielsen Company found 43% intended to access the internet via their mobile phone this year.

Elsewhere, 29% hoped to go online through a different kind of handheld multimedia gadget, like the iPad, and a further 24% would deploy a games console for the same purpose.

Some 32% wanted to buy a smartphone in 2011, while slates and other appliances scored 27%, and netbooks registered 24%.

"If you look at operators and device manufacturers around the Middle East, there's a big push in selling smartphones with packages and special promotions," Vishal Bali, Nielsen's executive director, emerging markets, telecoms, told The National.

At present, 51% of panellists surf the net from a computer at home, but popular behaviour could develop quickly going forward.

"The demographic of the region tends to be younger, and they're more open to new technology, which helps drive up usage and adoption," Bali added.

"Affordability is less of a concern than other markets such as Africa, so these figures are not much of a surprise."

Data sourced from The Nielsen Company/The National; additional content by Warc staff