New York, October 5, 2010 -- Harrison Group and Zinio today announced the results of a national consumer survey designed to measure the extent to which tablet-based technologies, dedicated eReaders and related smart technologies benefit American consumers and their lifestyle interests. The research found that 13% of all consumers express interest in purchasing a tablet-based device within the next 12 months – leading to potential sales of 13.5 to 15 million units, according to forecasters at Harrison Group. Contrary to some expectations, Harrison Group forecasts similar sales for eReaders during the same timeframe.
The study, based on an online survey of 1,816 consumers with a margin of error of less than 2%, found that a majority (58%) of tablet and eReader owners who read digital content are reading “more digital content than I ever thought I would.” And 33% acknowledge that they are spending more money on buying things to read.
“We are forecasting that tablet-based devices and eReaders together will exceed 20 million units in the next year and they may well be the Christmas gift of 2010,” observed Dr. Jim Taylor, Vice Chairman of Harrison Group. “What’s more,” he continued, “is that these devices are associated with substantial increases in adult reading.”
Compared to the total population of 18-64 year-olds, tablet and eReader owners spend 50% more time reading magazines and magazine articles. Tablet users spend nearly 75% more time reading newspapers and newspaper articles and 25% more time reading books. eReader users spend 50% more time reading newspapers and newspaper articles and 45% more time reading books. Tablet and eReader users make up the time by reducing the time spent using television and going online. They are likely to watch 25% less television and be 15-25% less connected online for purposes other than work or email.
“For years, our consumer research has demonstrated the growing demand for digital reading. The ease of access, the convenience of content storage and now the high quality of the screen experience makes reading fast and fun,” said Jeanniey Mullen, Global Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer of Zinio and VIVmag. “There is no doubt that tablet-based technologies are fueling a reading revolution that will spawn significant demand for more content, consumed by more people, in more ways and in more places. With digital newsstands making digital content accessible in over 26 countries, we are watching the world fall in love with content.”
In terms of paying for content, 62% of consumers say they are comfortable with digital payment systems that debit accounts automatically for subscriptions. Among tablet and eReader owners, this rises to 86% and 82%, respectively. About one in five tablet and eReader owners prefer making small “micropayments” for single articles while a similar percent of each market segment prefers subscribing to a company or network that gives unlimited content. One in four tablet owners and one in three eReader owners prefer purchasing single copies of publications while 15% and 13%, respectively, prefer a pre-payment option. 17% and 15%, respectively, prefer the traditional subscriber model of purchasing a specific amount of content for a set amount of time.
As digital content becomes a bigger part of the reading universe, consumers are demanding respect from publishers. 88% of all consumers are concerned about the management of their privacy and 80% do not feel it is acceptable for the companies they do business with to sell information about them for marketing purposes. Further, 73% of total consumers and two in three tablet and eReader owners say that the digital content they purchase once should be available for them to read on any device they own. However, there are clear benefits to cultivating relationships with digital-reading consumers: 78% of tablet and 75% of eReader owners – or more than half (54%) of all consumers – say that they would “love to be able to purchase the things I see in magazines directly from the magazine company.“
Diffusion of tablet-based technology devices and eReaders will increase as a result of the technological changes on the immediate horizon. Consumers have distinct preferences for what they would like to see in a device they might use to consume digital content. Extended battery length is a critical feature for the vast majority (73%), who note that this is an absolutely essential or extremely desirable feature. The evolution of screens that do not require backlighting helps obviate or reduce the concern that reading on tablet screens produces eye fatigue. Specifically, consumers want screens that reduce eye fatigue (73%), offer high resolution displays (66%) and avoid screen glare (65%).
Tablet devices, survey respondents believe, satisfy an emerging need for multi-functionality. 69% of respondents prefer a multi-functional device on which they can play games and connect to the Internet rather than a device exclusively dedicated to reading. However, a sizable minority of current device users seem to be planning on having both types of products so that they can have a dedicated reading device and an Internet-ready device in a form that is light and portable. Almost one in four (24%) of current tablet owners will likely acquire a dedicated eReader in the coming year; and 32% of current eReader owners say they plan to acquire a tablet-based device. At the same time, about eight in 10 tablet and eReader owners say digital content complements, but does not replace print content.
The digital reading revolution is still on the upswing: 28% are now reading digital magazines or books, up from less than 10% in 2008. For people who have not yet joined the revolution, there is a sense that reading digitally goes against their personal style (41%). Additionally, one-third have not yet given their attention to tablet and eReading devices or their utility. 30% have an aversion to paying for content. More than one-quarter (27%) feel that the reading experience is still not as enriching in digital format as it is in ink on paper. A similar number (26%) of reluctant respondents are concerned about signing up for yet another wireless service.
“It’s interesting to note that the diffusion of eReading and the devices that accommodate it are being led by a different personality type than technology revolutions in the past. Early adopters of eReading are more likely to see themselves as fashionable, playful, family-focused and kind, as opposed to the technology and leadership orientation of early adopters in prior technological revolutions,” Dr. Taylor pointed out.
“Unlike other new technologies, this revolution is not about the technology itself, but rather, about the role that content plays in people’s lives,” Dr. Taylor commented. “This revolution is being driven by people for whom tablet-based technology and eReader ownership is part of what it means to be genuinely sophisticated and connected to others.”
The bottom line: the power of digital devices as seen through the eyes of their owners: The vast majority (81% of tablet and 79% of eReader owners) believe that it is inevitable that all forms of publications will eventually be produced almost exclusively in a digital format. Print becomes a luxury as digital becomes the standard.
About the Survey:
1,816 Americans, ages 18-64, participated in the research, which was conducted by Harrison Group, online, from September 17 through September 23. The research includes oversamples of device users for a total of 214 tablet users and 279 eReader users. The overall sample has a margin of error of less than 2%. The sample is balanced to represent the national population of 18-64 year-olds in terms of gender, age, region, income and ethnicity. A companion survey is currently being conducted among publishers. For more information about this research, please visit www.changethepage.org. Copies of the research can be purchased by contacting Burr Brown at BBrown@HarrisonGroupInc.com.
About Harrison Group
Harrison Group is a leading market research and strategy consulting firm headquartered in Waterbury, Connecticut, with offices in Boston, Columbus, Indianapolis, Seattle and Scottsdale. Harrison Group specializes in syndicated research, luxury markets, technology markets, financial services, interactive entertainment and specialized media markets. The firm’s strength is the application of qualitative and quantitative methods to the search for strategy, forecasting and market analytics. Harrison Group consists of a cohesive team of researchers, analysts, field experts, focus group facilitators, marketing experts, brand specialists and multivariate statisticians who have all specialized in the business of clear, definitive results for many of the world’s most demanding clients.
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Zinio is the world's largest newsstand and bookstore. With its many digital products and services, Zinio creates better ways for people to discover published content, get more of it and do more with it. Now, readers can purchase content once to be read on any screen. Zinio provides the ability to shop for, search inside, read, share and save digital content in 26 local newsstands in any country in the world. Through the ZINIO UNITY™ reading platform, readers can move seamlessly within each publication, page between text, interactive graphics, animated illustrations, videos and more on most operating systems. Offering hundreds of thousands of the best digital issues, Zinio’s e-stores and applications are revolutionizing reading. Founded in 2001 and privately held, Zinio is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in New York, London, Paris, Barcelona and Taipei.