LONDON: Some 15% of consumers in the UK now own or have access to a tablet, and many are changing their media usage habits as a result, according to a new survey.

YouGov, the research firm, polled 2,000 people on behalf of Deloitte, the consultancy, and as a result estimated that 7m such devices are currently in circulation.

More broadly, 12% of respondents either possess or can access at least two tablets, a total which may grow further as gadgets with smaller screens are introduced.

"Moving to owning more than one tablet is happening at a much faster pace than has been the case with other products and services," Paul Lee, Deloitte's director of technology, media and telecoms research, said.

Elsewhere, 29% of the tablet population claimed to utilise their laptop less frequently than before, and one in five had almost abandoned them altogether.

However, Lee argued it would be premature to predict the demise of the personal computer. "The vast majority of tablet users remain PC owners and users," he said.

"Tablets are optimised for viewing and occasionally reviewing; in general they lack to processing power and user interface required for creating content."

Exactly a quarter of the tablet audience had also reduced their smartphone activity, the study discovered, and 11% rarely turned to their wireless handsets at all.

Similar trends were observable regarding apps, with tablet users downloading around four such tools for these devices a month at a combined cost of £2.50, versus two, worth 75p in total, for their smartphone counterparts.

The most widespread online pastimes undertaken on the iPad or alternative gadgets were searching for information on 64%, sending and receiving emails on 63%, visiting news and sports websites on 54% and social networking on 51%.

Popular offline activities among the same group included gaming on 60%, reading on 45%, watching television or films on 41% and listening to music on 40%.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff