I was right!
Last week I was in a meeting at the University of New South Wales and a broad sweeping statement was made that “within 2 years the tablet computer will have replaced the PC with university students”. I rejected this statement, suggesting that perhaps the tablet may become the primary computer for taking notes within class and communications, but that kids aren’t giving up their laptops any time soon.
Judging from my personal usage of smartphones and tablets, there are still too many things that are much easier to do on a computer (such as using formulas in spreadsheets, such as loading up large file sizes, such as attaching documents to an email). Certainly internet enabled mobile devices have increased our overall internet usage, but I don’t think they’ve replaced the computer, they’ve just increased the engagement. Anecdotally, you would have noticed how many people are constantly staring at their mobile phone as they walk down the street. You would have had conversations with friends and family about how people interact less in person these days and instead prefer digital communication. My best friend just told me yesterday that she’d had a swipe at her sister in law for “having her head buried in facebook all day” while they were visiting from overseas.
And then this morning I wake up and read a ComScore blog, who are my favourite online data source (which I haven’t read in a while), and I was rewarded with research that supports my thoughts that mobile devices equal engagement.
Usage of these [internet enabled mobile] devices now accounts for more than half (52%) of all time spent online by consumers…. we see no evidence that mobile devices have cannibalized use of the desktop in terms of total consumption of digital content. Rather, use of mobile devices has resulted in a marked increase in the total time spent with digital content.
For a long time now tablets have been called a “lean back device“, which means that people now lounge on the couch with the tablet as a source of entertainment. While our computers could perform some entertainment functions previously, the size and weight of them, and the cables prevented them from becoming truly comfortable. The smartphone achieved this but the screen size is too small to want to read at great length or watch long format video. The tablet solves these problems.
ComScore shows that our smartphone and tablet usage is focused in certain content verticals – travel, weather and socialising but we know there has been an increase in mobile commerce transactions and in online donations to charities. Consumer behaviour changes across categories and across tasks, so make sure that your business knows how its customers like to transact online and if your website is not optimised for mobile, come talk to us.