'Surprise' at teens' low tablet take-up

'Surprise' at teens' low tablet take-up

New research shows that 64% of young people do not own a tablet and, of those that do, only 1% say they mainly use it for reading.

Next week, teen market analysis company Voxburner will release its Youth Tech Report, showing that three-quarters of people it surveyed aged 18-24 have a laptop, compared to the 36% who have a tablet. Only 5% own a Kindle Fire.

“Tablet ownership is relatively low and I think people are often surprised that young people haven’t embraced tablets more,” said Luke Mitchell, head of insight at Voxburner. “Young people have to have a strong usage case, meaning they have to be convinced about a technology, because they are on low budgets.”

He pointed out that a tablet sits between a laptop and a mobile phone “so there’s no real reason for them to have one”.

Of those who own a tablet, its popular function was browsing the internet (named by 78% of respondents as their primary activity), followed by social networking (65%), playing games (48%), streaming TV or films (41%) and listening to music (26%).

According to Mitchell, one of the main reasons young people don’t read on tablets is the cost of e-books, pointing out that only 11% of respondents had spent more than £5 on e-books in the month before the survey.

“The price point they’d like to see—even if it is horrifying to publishers—is half that of a print book,” he said. “Publishers also need to communicate that price difference, so if the e-book is cheaper, it needs to be advertised.” Publishers could also look at presenting content for mobile phones, perhaps by breaking up content into more digestible chunks, he said.

However, Mitchell pointed out that in some cases, young people simply prefer to read print books. “The relationship between young people and technology is much more nuanced than we think,” he said. “As much as they love what technology gives them, they also want to get away from their screens, and books are a way of doing that.”

To compile its Youth Tech Report, Voxburner interviewed 1,544 young people aged 18–24. Half of those surveyed were part of the 400,000-strong student panel of Student Beans, Voxburner’s sister company. The other 50% were surveyed by third-party research partner Cint.

Most participants questioned (68%) were at university or college; 9% were at school; 12% were working full-time; 4% were working part-time; and 7% were looking for work.
Voxburner will release the full report at its Youth Marketing Strategy event on 26th March.