Reading Between the Numbers
I’m going to make somewhat of a gutsy assumption here so bear with me.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been home for the holidays and have started my move from SFO to NYC. The move has given me more exposure to a number of different age groups than I had in the last year. At an average desk job, you usually see people in your own age group during the day and your friends (in the evening)…also of your own age group. While traveling and when around family - you suddenly see people of all age groups: kids, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. After this exposure, I noticed a trend.
I always thought the iPad was a “hip” device. One that fit right in the middle of mobile and laptop ownership - a healthy (if not luxurious) alternative. comScore’s numbers made perfect sense. Apple iPad ownership skewed to 25-34 year olds (27.0%). Ownership was also high in the 18-24 year old (15.2%), 35-44 year old (20.3%), and 45-54 year old (16.4%) segments. See table below for the full set of numbers.
What comScore does not include in the table is how many of the included subscribers used the iPad as a second device in comparison with subscribers who replaced their laptops/desktops with an iPad (making it their primary device for consumption.) Is the latter’s penetration more valuable? Should it be weighted higher? Here are my two cents:
I have found that children (middle schoolers and below) and adults (in the segment 45-54) rely almost solely on the iPad to consume information.
I always found the iPad to be a great device for consumption but I always gravitated towards my laptop for creation (word processing, e-mails, keynote.) This isn’t because the iPad is harder to create on (yes, maybe the lack of an actual keyboard may be a problem for some) - rather, I believe it has a lot to do with the socialization of a product. I’m in my early 20s now and I had to undergo the transition from a desktop computer to a laptop at the beginning of my college years.
I got my first laptop in college and haven’t used a desktop since. For the segments outlined above (below 13 and above 44), the laptop socialization stage was a transitory one. It simply did not stick. I’ve seen young children confuse magazines for iPads, expecting them to zoom in the same way an iPad does. What does that mean? For these children, iPads have dictated the way they consume information - desktops and laptops will always be too bulky and unnecessary. In the same vein, I’ve seen my dad struggle with a laptop for a year and seamlessly transition over to the iPad.
Aboard planes, I’ve seen 18-35 year olds type furiously on laptops while older individuals are happy surfing the internet on their iPads. What is it about the iPad that facilitates these age groups?
I think its three simple things:
- Easier to teach (seemingly easier learning curve…even though the iPad is nearly as functional as a laptop)
- Maneuverability (Larger font/icons, ease of use, transportability)
- Has factors of both a smartphone (touch screen) and a laptop (large enough screen to surf the web easily) - the dichotomy allows people to feel they are getting the best of both of worlds.
Would love to hear your thoughts!