The latest research from Google throws up some surprises ... and some exciting opportunities! 

According to the latest tablet research by Google across 11 countries, the one key message was that tablets are essential, not optional.

Other key points:

  • We have four screens in our lives: our smartphone, our TV, our PC, and our tablets – in 2017 tablets will outsell PCs.
  • Currently in Australia 17% have tablets and 14% going to buy in next year. Australia was number 2 in smartphone penetration in 2011, this year number 4 (due to increase tablet market).
  • Australians are early adopters, but tablets are no longer just for the early adopters, 47% are female and mothers (entertain themselves, Facebook, fotos and shop) 38% over 45 years
  • In the past tablets were thought of as luxury item, now they are mainstream, for example 21% of unemployed have tablets and 7% of students.

Why tablets?

  • Costs are decreasing.
  • Get content quickly, easier distribution
  • Apps now a multimillion dollar industry
  • Wifi becoming more available
  • Tablets becoming more and more portable

Key activities shifting to tablets:

  • Mobile driven spend emerging as key area
  • Most searched topic is news and weather (where are we no longer getting that info from?)
  • Shopping is third most searched topic on tablets
  • 81% tablet users reports using it for shopping, 53% make a purchase, of these 72% do so every month; top shopping is clothing, travel and entertainment items
  • Entertainment 4th most searched topic
  • 44% report reading less books, magazines and newspapers
  • 25% report watching less TV
  • 71% play games at least once week
  • 74% pay for content (subscriptions etc)

Productivity:

  • People bringing their personal tablets to work
  • 37% using tablets to work
  • Consumerisation of IT – we have more powerful IT in our homes than in the office
  • “Your smartphone knows you better than anyone else”
  • 43% using tablets for planning/management
  • 35% describe tablets as productive, 45% as efficient, 56% as versatile
  • 30% say tablets starting to replacing their computer

How we use devices:

  • Tablets complement other features, and are a unique channel
  • 81% start an activity on one device and then finish it on another
  • 66% report finishing purchase on desktop, therefore the experiences need to be seamless
  • 64% use tablets with other devices, 40% use tablets while watching TV (is it related or unrelated? 29% are doing a complimentary activity while watching TV)
  • 62% of tablets users share their tablet with someone else (spouse/partner, child)
  • 33% use tablets simultaneously with someone else (watch videos, play games)
  • Tablet usage increases / peaks at night – not only are we multitasking we are “multiscreening” (i.e. using tablet and TV at same time)
  • 95% use tablet at home
  • Tablets are increasingly on the go – 55% use it on the move
  • 32% use at work, 20% in cafe

Device context:

  • Smartphones are our constant companion
  • PCs are for power computing
  • TV is a rich viewing experience (and are getting smarter)
  • Tablets are engaging and versatile

More from Google can be found on the Google Mobile Ads blog.

(These notes are from a talk given today at the ad:tech Unwired conference, Sydney #ATUW)