NEW YORK: Tablet PCs are beginning to exert an influence on US consumers' usage of devices such as smartphones and desktop computers.

The Nielsen Company, the research firm, surveyed shoppers possessing products like Apple's iPad, Samsung's Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom, to gain an insight into this increasingly competitive category.

Roughly half of the panel said they are the only person in their household to use this item, while 43% shared it with others.

A further 8% had bought a tablet but did not use it themselves, as other people in their home constituted the primary audience.

Having been asked how owning a slate impacted different channels, 35% of participants had reduced activity levels or simply no longer accessed a desktop PC.

This total stood at 32% for laptop computers, 28% for netbooks and 27% for ebook readers and portable media players.

Figures hit 20% relating to games consoles, 14% for geo-positioning services, 11% for internet-to-television players, 13% for smartphones and 11% for web-connected TV.

But only 5% had ceased employing netbooks altogether, the highest rating on this metric overall, with nearly every medium tracked scoring either 2% or 3%.

These numbers fell to 1% in assessing TVs that can link to the net, and effectively zero on the part of smartphones and internet-to-TV players.

Between half and three-quarters of those polled stated purchasing a tablet had not affected the time dedicated to alternative platforms – peaking at 72% for GPS and the 66% lodged by online-enabled TV sets.

A quarter of contributors were actually now more engaged with the latter appliance, handheld games machines and web-to-TV players.

Over a fifth adopted the same view in analysing the extent to which they leveraged smartphones, netbooks and internet-to-television tools.

Indeed, apart from desktop PCs, on 9%, all of the other options registered an improvement here, Nielsen's study found.

When identifying the reasons to use tablets instead of PCs or laptops, 31% of the sample cited portability, 21% referenced the simplicity provided by its interface or operating system.

Elsewhere, 15% prioritised the comparative rapidity of starting and switching off the iPad and similar offerings, and 12% emphasised convenience, size and the ability to utilise tablets in various locations.

Fast speed recorded 11%, beating features such as calendars and apps on 10%, and the lightweight character of tablets, posting 7%.

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