Canadians seem to get the short end of the stick in the e-Reader and Tablet arena compared to our southern neighbors. It is near impossible to buy a Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook in a retail setting. Canadians are limited to Sony, Kobo or Aluratek e-readers in most electronics shops, but enjoy a wider selection of tablets.
Tablet PC’s such as the the Apple iPad and Blackberry Playbook enjoy a greater visability at many stores in Canada. Tablets were initially launched as a more user-friendly format for viewing multimedia content such as books, magazines, videos and online apps. They were expected take dominate the landscape and be a substitute for netbooks and laptops; yet after a year on the market, only a small, affluent few have purchased the device.
In a recent poll by the NPD Group. 6% of Canadians currently own a tablet, the same percentage as those who own eReaders.The study polled 9,577 Canadian adults across Canada in March 2011.
Our research shows that there’s definitely an existing demand for tablets among Canadians and substantial growth potential; yet, many Canadians are still biding their time before they make the leap of purchasing the device,” said Darrel Ryce, director of technology and entertainment, The NPD Group. “However, those who have a tablet are very satisfied with the device, which is clearly evident in usage data that indicates half of tablet owners are using the device two to six hours a day.”
“While the market for ereaders tends to be slimmer than that for tablets, those who intend to buy ereaders are very committed,” said Ryce. “For example, even though a tablet could serve as an ereader, only 30 per cent of prospective customers would consider going with a tablet over an eReader and 56 per cent say no other device would be comparable to an ereader in their minds.”
The main part of the study was that tablets managed to catch up to e-readers only after 1 full year of them being commerically available. The growth potential for tablets is much more then e-readers. The report cited that e-readers are tended to be used by older readers, while the younger population purchases tablets. Owners of eReaders tend to not to care as much about Wi-Fi connectivity. They also tend to use the device much less than their tablet-owner counterparts with 27% using the device less than one hour a day and 38% using it a few hours a week.
The study also reveals a future shift in how the device will be used. While only 9% of today’s owners use the device to read newspapers, 30% of intended purchasers will be perusing the pages of Canada’s dailies on the device and 27% will use it to read magazines.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.