Nielsen: tablet users ditching PCs and ereaders

apple ipad 2 vs motorola xoom thumb

Tablet computers are all the rage right now—with the Apple iPad still dominating the market—and market research firm Nielsen decided to take a look at why people like tablets and how they’re using the devices. And the results aren’t too surprising: tablet users like the devices because they’re easy to carry around, and they’re increasingly using them instead of traditional PCs, notebooks, netbooks, ereaders, and even portable media players and gaming systems.

Some of Nielsen’s questions in the Q1 Mobile Device Report focused on whether tablet owners have changed the way they use other “connected devices.” Some 35 percent of tablet owners said they are using a traditional desktop computer less (or not at all) since jumping on the tablet bandwagon, while 32 percent said they’re using their notebook less often (or not at all) since buying a tablet. The same figure is 28 percent for netbooks, 27 percent for both ereaders and portable media players, and 25 percent for portable gaming consoles. However, in counterbalance, since 25 percent they’re using Internet-connected televisions more since buying a tablet, and 26 percent said they’re using a portable gaming console more frequently.

Nielsen Connected Device Use & Tablets May 2011

Nielsen also asked about reasons users turn to a tablet instead of a traditional notebook or PC. Some 31 percent said it was all about portability and the ease of taking a tablet with them. Another 21 percent cited ease of use, and 15 percent cited fast startup and shutdown times. Curiously only 7 percent cited a tablet’s light weight as a reason for using it over a conventional PC or notebook, and only 12 percent said size was a reason they preferred a tablet.

Another interesting figure: some 43 percent of tablet readers surveyed by Nielsen said they shared their tablet with other people in their household. Roughly half of the survey respondents say they have a tablet they use all by themselves.

Unsurprisingly, Nielsen found respondents in its survey predominantly used the Apple iPad, with 39 percent having a Wi-Fi edition and 43 percent having a Wi-Fi and 3G edition. Some four percent had a Samsung Galaxy Tab, three percent had a Dell Streak, two percent had a Motorola Xoom, and nine percent had some “Other” device.

Nielsen says the conducted the survey in spring 2011; the company didn’t immediately offer any information about the size of the respondent pool or survey methodology.

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