April 19, 2012 (Frisco, TX) – eReaders continue to enjoy widespread use among U.S. consumers, this despite the rapid uptake of iPads and other tablet PCs. According to TDG’s new report, Profiling eReader Users—A Consumer Snapshot, penetration of dedicated eReaders grew from 8% of U.S. Internet households at year-end 2010 to 20% at year-end 2011—an increase of 250% in just 12 months.
While this constitutes impressive diffusion (eReaders were first introduced in 2007), the activity of eReading has quickly become just another application enabled by more powerful multipurpose devices, chief among them pad or tablet PCs. For this reason, many analysts quickly predicted the rapid decline of dedicated eReaders, much as the calculator or wristwatch has been subsumed by smartphones.
“Undoubtedly eReader demand is increasingly impacted by the availability of pads and tablet PCs,” notes Michael Greeson, TDG Founding Partner and Director of Research. “The pad platform provides a compelling digital reading platform that for many eliminates the need for a separate dedicated eReader.”
Despite this ‘app-lification’ of electronic reading, dedicated eReaders are proving attractive to a growing number of consumers. For those who enjoy reading digital books, dedicated eReaders are significantly less expensive and arguably more convenient to use than full-size pads. “The simplicity and elegance of experience is hard to replace,” notes Greeson.
Greeson acknowledges that, over time, the retail price of both pads and eReaders will decline. While to some this only increases the likelihood that pads will supplant dedicated eReaders, he sees it a bit differently. “As prices decline, dedicated eReaders will become so inexpensive that their cost advantages over pads become more compelling.” This fact is not lost on educational institutions planning to shift to electronic textbooks yet faced with diminishing budgets. “In such cases, fully-functional pads, though optimal, will prove too expensive for mass deployment.”
During the same time, TDG expects pad manufacturers like Apple will introduce smaller form factors that more closely resemble the physical characteristics of eReaders but have the power and memory to support a wider range of applications and services. “With this additional functionality, however, comes additional cost, again separating simple eReaders from these more sophisticated devices. Regardless of cost reductions, dedicated eReaders will always be less expensive than pads, and thus sufficiently compelling to a large number of consumers.”
These are just a few of the highlights of TDG’s new report, Profiling eReader Users—A Consumer Snapshot. The larger analysis includes detailed information on a number of characteristics including devices owned and used per household and adult; frequency of use; source of purchase; and key demographic and techno-graphic comparisons to adult Internet users in general and pad/tablet owners in particular.
The report is now available for purchase at www.tdgresearch.com or by contacting our Research Services Team at 469-287-8050.