It seems most people are still hedging their bets with regard to all the hype about us entering the “post-PC” era, at least according to market research firm NPD Groups’ new study, “Tablet Adoption and Insights Report.”
Among other things, the report notes that while more of the tasks traditionally performed on PCs are now being done with tablets, and indeed all five of the “top activities” shifted towards the tablet between early and late 2011, the vast majority of users are not rejecting other devices, regardless of these usage trends. The researchers found that only 10% of tablet owners have decided they don’t need a PC notebook they had been considering, with a similar trend reflected among non-tablet owners, 26% of whom say they are likely to buy a notebook in the next year, while just 18 percent said they will purchase a tablet.
“Even as consumers increasingly use tablets for tasks that were once exclusively done on their PC, they continue to plan new PC purchases,” says NPD’s Vice President Of Industry Analysis Stephen Baker. “Usage is still evolving and most people, being inherently conservative in their device outlook, continue to hedge their bets on their device preference by planning to maintain an array of products to afford them maximum flexibility.”
That certainly reflects the dynamic I’ve experienced. I like my iPad 2, and use it more and more these days, but I don’t consider it even remotely close to being adequate to displace my laptops for serious computing tasks.
Another interesting revelation in the NPD report is that iPad owners tend to be older and have more money than owners of other brand tablets or non-tablet users. iPadders are 50% more likely to have household incomes of $100 thousand or more, with 40% of iPad owners in the $100,000+ bracket compared to 26% of non-iPad owners. However, the survey also notes that as tablets have become more mainstream and more widely distributed, those high-end demographics are shifting.
The researchers found that more recent tablet owners make less money and are younger than were the early adopters, with buyers at the end of 2011 being 50% more likely to have an income under $45 thousand, and 33% more likely to be under 34 years of age, and those metrics are not irrelevant to increasing use of tablets for traditional PC activities and tasks. “As the demographic of the tablet owner continues to change, the tablet market is beginning to take on a new role,” says Stephen Baker.
Still, as one who still perceives the laptop as the default computer form factor to have if you’re limited to one device, I find it reassuring that the laptop doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Tablets will presumably improve, but they have an awfully long way to go to match even a small laptop like the MacBook Air running a real desktop operating system for power and versatility.