How tablets and e-readers are changing the UK's digital diet

Sixty nine percent of tablet owners think most people will have a tablet or e-reader in the future, research from UM London reveals.

Tablets: 57% of owners are male
Tablets: 57% of owners are male

UM London carried out research into how owners of tablets and e-readers use them and attitudes of non-owners towards these devices.

The study, Will Tablet Computers Change Our Lives? found that 69% of tablet owners think most people will have a tablet/e-reader in the future.

Tablet owners feel that their lives have been enriched by their devices, with 43% saying that people with tablets/e-readers are less bored now (38% of e-reader owners say this).

However, 11% of tablet owners think there is peer pressure to get a tablet/e-reader (4% of e-reader owners).

There is a clear difference in how owners view their devices too: 41% of tablet owners think of it as ‘just a toy’ but just 17% of e-reader users do so.



Attitudes to tablet and e-readers

Source: UM London

Among owners of tablets, 29% browse the internet on their device, with 4% using it as an e-reader.

Seven percent of tablet owners say they use it to access news, while 7% also access social networks and send email on their tablets. 

As Angry Birds devotees can testify, tablets are popular for gaming, with 11% of owners saying they use their device to play games.

Activities by device


Source: UM London

The study also shows that tablet owners are early adopters when it comes to technology items generally, with 29% of them saying that they buy the latest cutting-edge technology as soon as it's available. Just 6% of e-reader owners say this.

E-reader owners appear to be more circumspect: 41% like to buy the latest technology but only after considering which is best. This compares to 30% of tablet owners.

And 27% of e-reader owners (9% of tablet owners) say that they like to buy products that have proven technology and are not just the latest must-have gadget.

Attitudes to tech


Source: UM London

Twenty six percent of tablet owners and 36% of e-reader owners spend at least £5 a month on apps.

The most popular types of apps among tablet owners are games (50%), social networks (43%) and weather (41%).

Types of apps downloaded by tablet and e-reader owners (%)
  Tablet E-Reader
Games 50% 2%
Social networking 43% 3%
Weather apps 41% 2%
Music 38% 1%
Books 37% 64%
Retail apps 35% 4%
TV Player 33% 1%
Newspapers 27% 5%
TV Programmes 26% 1%
Films 25% 2%
Navigation 23% 1%
Microblogging 19% 0%
Creative apps 18% -
Sport apps 18% 1%
Travel apps 17% 1%
Photography apps 17% 1%
Medical/ Health/ Diet apps 15% 1%
Magazines 11% 2%
Business apps 11% 1%
Other 4% 1%
Not downloaded any apps 18% 32%

Source: UM London


The research was conducted in August 2011 using UM’s Curiosity Panel. This involved an online questionnaire answered by 5,000 nationally representative adults.


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