Tablet owners' usage only becomes steady after a "honeymoon" period

By February 14, 2012
young girl having fun using its tablet

Tablet usage varies as time goes by. After a 6-month period of tablet use discovery, tablet-owners return to PC’s for certain tasks including online shopping. Marketers need to take this lifecycle into account.


The way consumers use their devices changes over time, as consulting firm Rosetta found in its recent study about tablet owners. A key insight of the report was that people tend to do a lot more activities on their tablet in the first one to six months of their tablet ownership than after a year of ownership. Rosetta experts call this period the “honeymoon phase”: consumers are excited to discover their new device and use it very often and for many different things. But after a few months of ownership, the owner’s tablet usage becomes less frantic, tends to settle and becomes more specific to certain activities. 

Tablet-owners return to PC’s for certain tasks over time

Once this “honeymoon” phase is over, tablet usages drops for all activities, and tablet-owners return to PCs over tablets for certain tasks. They typically tend to reduce online shopping with their tablet over time: 27% of those who have owned a tablet from 3 to 6 months purchase new products and services online (excluding buying new apps), while only 20% of those who have owned a tablet for over a year do so. This is also the case for activities such as video chat (28% to 21%), instant messenger (22% to 17%). While a lot of tablet owners drop those activities and go back to their PCs, they keep their tablet for specific activities such as reading, watching TV or movies, reading e-books, magazines or newspapers, and playing games.

Online marketers need to get the right timing

Those findings highlight the importance of considering lifecycles for a good online marketing. The study concludes that marketers should capitalize on the tablet honeymoon period, because consumers are more likely to do online purchases with their tablets. The real challenge is to keep consumers’ attention even after this golden period. As Jay Lichtenstein, a Partner in Rosetta’s Consulting Practice puts it: “Like in any relationship, the pressure is to keep consumers engaged and happy with their tablets beyond that infatuation period”. A solution might be to determine wisely which device is best to first launch a digital service –PC’s, smartphones or tablets – and how other devices can compliment this. For Jay Lichtenstein, the best way to succeed begins by being fully aware of consumer habits: “the key is to deeply understand a user’s motivations and needs and then build the experiences to captivate them”.

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