LONDON: Consumers who own tablets are adopting new communications habits, but are also making fewer visits to stores, multimarket research has shown.

InMobi, the mobile advertising network, and Mobext, the agency run by Havas, polled 8,400 people in India, France, South Korea, the UK and US, finding that 69% of tablet owners had shopped via the devices in the 30 days before the survey.

Another 10% would be happy to acquire a "big ticket" item via this route, falling to just 2.9% for smartphone users, where purchases are often functional and of low value.

Over 20% of tablet early adopters claimed to have made less trips to bricks and mortar stores after obtaining this gadget. This trend may gain traction as a third of people yet to own such an appliance hoped to buy one in the next six months.

Elsewhere, 61% of the existing tablet community revealed this channel played a key role in building brand awareness when used at home, as did 58% for "active evaluation" and 63% for completing transactions.

Smartphones were pre-eminent when out-of-home, as over 40% of shoppers agreed they built awareness, consideration and purchase here, while more than a third said the same for evaluation and after-sales support.

More broadly, tablet users regularly employed these devices to undertake 3.9 activities, ahead of 3.6 different pastimes on laptops and 2.7 on smartphones.

Looking at media usage, 58% of people with an iPad or similar offering accessed content - and especially rich media - in short bursts throughout the day, as did 56% of their smartphone counterparts.

An additional 72% of this audience watched TV and used their slate simultaneously, and 20% spent more time in front of the television having bought a tablet.

"The arrival of game-changing touchscreen technology has given rise to rapid changes in media consumption patterns," said Chris Bourke, Mobext's managing director. "This new phenomena is characterised by acute advertiser anxiety when trying to configure their digital marketing plans."

For 51% of participants already owning a tablet, utilising it filled "dead time", while 49% shared it with family members.

A further 44% of the same group "would not want to be separated" from their tablet, and 42% found that this gadget had "revolutionised" the way they communicated with friends and colleagues.

Data sourced from InMobi/MPG; additional content by Warc staff