business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is out with a new survey saying that half of American adults say that they either own a tablet computer or a smartphone.

"Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults, 22%, now own a tablet device-double the number from a year earlier," the study says. "Another 3% of adults regularly use a tablet owned by someone else in their home. And nearly a quarter of those who don't have a tablet, 23%, plan to get one in the next six months. Even more U.S. adults (44%) have smartphones, according to the survey, up from 35% in May 2011."

Slightly more than half of those polled say that they have an Apple iPad, which is a major shift from a year ago, when eight of 10 said they had iPads. Forty-eight percent of poll respondents said they have Android-based tablets, such as Amazon's Kindle Fire.

The survey continues:

"News remains an important part of what people do on their mobile devices-64% of tablet owners and 62% of smartphone owners say they use the devices for news at least weekly, tying news statistically with other popular activities such email and playing games on tablets and behind only email on smartphones (not including talking on the phone). This means fully a third of all U.S. adults now get news on a mobile device at least once a week.

"Mobile users, moreover, are not just checking headlines on their devices, although nearly all use the devices for the latest new updates. Many also are reading longer news stories - 73% of adults who consume news on their tablet read in-depth articles at least sometimes, including 19% who do so daily. Fully 61% of smartphone news consumers at least sometimes read longer stories, 11% regularly.

"And for many people, mobile devices are adding how much news they consume. More than four in ten mobile news consumers say they are getting more news now and nearly a third say they are adding new sources."

The lesson for marketers is simple. If people are using these mobile devices to consume news, it is inevitable that they increasingly will use these devices for shopping and gather information about the products and services they plan to consume.

You'd better adapt. And compete.
KC's View: