SYDNEY: Consumers in Australia are utilising an increasingly wide range of devices to access the internet, a trend that is reshaping media and purchase habits.

According to figures from Nielsen, the research firm, some 18% of Australian households now contain at least one tablet, and the penetration of these gadgets is likely to reach 39% by 2013.

The study also found that 20% of respondents had deployed a slate PC to go online, a total expanding to 55% for mobile phones, and 82% when considering the smartphone user base.

Another 18% of interviewees logged on to the web from a games console, standing at 15% for portable media players and 11% when discussing connected television sets.

"More than ever, the rise of the internet continues to present today's consumers with choices over the screen they select to watch TV content as well as the source from which they obtain it," Lillian Zrim, associate director, insight and innovation at Nielsen, told Marketing Mag.

Zrim equally suggested that commercially-driven activities are being impacted by this shift, with 71% of web users reading user reviews online and 59% watching video on the net to "inform" purchases.

A further 83% of the panel had previously researched goods and services on the net, while 43% had uploaded comments about brands and 39% had posted reviews of products.

"Consumers draw on a variety of sources and resources to support their decision making," said Zrim.

Nielsen's survey of 5,104 people also showed that the average mobile internet user dedicated 4.2 hours each week to using the net via these devices, up from 3.5 hours a year ago.

Approximately 60% of web users had gone online from a mobile phone while watching television, and roughly 30% partook of this activity every day.

Turning to social media, 57% of members had "liked" a brand page on Facebook, improving from 46% in 2010.

Data sourced from Marketing Mag; additional content by Warc staff