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Seven survey sheds light on UK's iPad users

Seven survey sheds light on UK's iPad users

Friday, 25 March 2011

The iPad is rapidly changing the way people engage with content. Over half (51%) of iPad owners who had read magazines both in print and in interactive format on the iPad preferred the experience on Apple's multimedia device. That’s good news for brands looking to extend the reach of existing print titles and for publishers looking to break out of print.

Even better news for the UK's big brands is that 84% of iPad owners say they would be likely to download an app from one of their favourite brands, if it was free and non-subscription, according to the latest survey by Seven, the award-winning strategic content agency.

These findings suggest that iPad owners are turning their backs on personal computers as the iPad becomes the go-to gadget for entertainment.

Use of desktop computers is down for 35% of iPad owners since they bought their device, as is the use of laptops, down among 39% as 'Generation i' take their pick from the thousands of new apps created especially for the iPad. In fact, 53% of iPad owners say they use their device mainly for entertainment, three times as many as the 18% who say they use it for more functional purposes.

These are just some of the findings from Seven’s ‘Generation i’ survey. Conducted by YouGov, chosen by Seven for their recognised authority on iPad research, the survey reached a total of 1,007 UK iPad owners, making it one of the first detailed surveys of UK iPad owners’ content usage.

This new, independent piece of research answers key iPad marketing questions, including the truth about consumers’ attitudes to content – what are they consuming, where and when? What are their attitudes towards apps and app usage? What do they think about free vs paid-for? And how has the iPad affected consumer use of other media and devices?

The results show the speed at which the iPad has become a mainstream device for media consumption, with over 87% of owners using it every day of the week, 26% for half an hour to an hour per day, 32% for 1-2 hours per day, and 24% for more than 2 hours a day.

They also reveal that iPad owners are not exclusively early adopters – 63% describe themselves as people who normally wait for a gadget to become established before they buy it.

Although the results show that the iPad is a ‘lean-back’ device, perfect for relaxing on the sofa, they also point to its versatility – 69% of respondents use it in the bedroom, 42% in the kitchen and 20% of men can't be parted from it in the bathroom – all of which points to the iPad as a serious threat to smartphones and traditional mobile devices.

Where people use their iPads is interesting, but what they use it for is even more so. Most popular activities are accessing the web (75% do so at least every other day), emailing (63%) and playing games (48%), followed by social networking (41%), researching products and services (29%), reading books (25%), listening to music (21%) and shopping (19%), then reading magazines (13%), using the iPad for work (13%) and watching TV (11%). Good news for magazine publishers; over half (51%) who have read magazines in print and in interactive format on the iPad say they prefer it on the iPad, vs 23% who prefer a magazine in print.

The data for free and paid-for apps by genre suggest that consumers are most prepared to pay for productivity apps that make working life simpler, business apps and games.*

In terms of branded content apps, 16% have bought a branded app from a company and a huge 84% of respondents would be very interested in an app from one of their favourite brands, if it was free and non-subscription.

Although free apps are almost twice as popular among iPad consumers as paid-for (the average UK iPad has 18 free apps on it and 10 paid-for), content is the key driver in app purchases. The survey shows that this is more important to consumers than the price of the app when making a purchase decision.

Buying is most strongly influenced by the perceived usefulness of the app (64% of owners who have downloaded an app before say this is very important), then by the content itself (47%), then price (44%). This is followed by friend recommendations (27%), which is almost double the number (15%) who say that recommendations by industry experts are very important.

The most powerful channels for driving awareness of iPad apps include word of mouth (53% of app buyers), featured categories in the app store (49%), charts in the app store (47%) and reviews (33%). Surprisingly, social media rates only 12%.

The survey also shows that advertising on iPad is seen in a more positive light than magazine advertising. 36% of iPad owners who have read magazines in print and in interactive format on the iPad agree that ‘the iPad is the best way for companies to advertise to people like them’, (24% disagree). 42% say they are more likely to pay attention to interactive magazine advertising on the iPad than advertising in magazines and newspapers, (31% disagree).

Unique to the survey is the ‘Angry Birds Index’. By asking respondents about which apps they have on their iPad, Seven has created an ‘Angry Birds Index’, which measures the popularity of apps relative to the game.