04 November 2011 · By Mark Challinor
Recent iPad research indicates that gender usage will balance out, though as a non-essential purchase the device is likely to remain in the hands of affluent 35- to 54-year-olds for the short and medium term.
In a period where we see Apple’s latest results reveal that over 11 million iPads were sold in its last trading year — a 166% increase over 2010 — along with Apple saying they sold as many iPads as they could physically produce, it’s perhaps time to reflect on where we are with the device which has taken the world by storm.
Via a combination of various research sources we are led to certain conclusions about where the iPad has got to in our society. Let’s take a look.
The gender balance will move from a heavily male bias toward a more even split. Analysing iPad usage after 9 and 80 days, Yahoo! observed a marked shift in the ratio of male to females accessing their content via an iPad (from 2:1 to 3:2). However, it is likely that males will remain narrowly the dominant group.
In the medium-term, affluent consumers will remain the core users. Two good reasons for this are:
Right now, the key age group is 35-54.
In the medium-term, the key group is likely to be 35-54. Since the earliest days of the iPad, both Nielsen and Yahoo! have reported a slight increase in the average age of a user, which was initially more weighted to the younger, early adopter market. iPhone uptake followed a similar trajectory, so we may hypothesise the same for the iPad and tablet.
In the longer term, who knows? But 35-54 looks a strong bet. The affluence of the 35-54 group is likely to remain an ongoing determining factor here. In addition, if “curated computing” is the future of the tablet (as Forrester believe it is), then it is likely to appeal to a middle-aged, busy, time-poor audience
Consumption is primarily in-home, and looks set to remain that way in the medium term. Some 62% of iPad users rarely or never take their device outside the home, according nVision research. Similarly, Forrester reports the tablet device as acting primarily as “a new addition to the multi-PC lifestyle.”
They say, “Tablets will expand consumption in new parts of the home. As early users of the iPad are discovering, tablets are the perfect form factor for reading or watching videos in bed, listening to the radio in the shower, and reading a newspaper at the kitchen table — all use cases where a smartphone or laptop could be used but the tablet gives a demonstrably better experience.”
Shared tablet usage may increase in the medium term, though in the longer term, single ownership is likely.
So, in conclusion, what forecast can we draw on all this? Richard Harte, Telegraph Media Group’s director of planning and analysis says,
Visually captivating content is and will continue to be important, as will tools and games that can be shared — both between devices and on a single device. What’s your position on mobile gaming? A new revenue stream? Take a look.
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