Tablets, eBooks on the Rise According to Pew

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

tablet-readerA new study from Pew Research Center has given businesses engaged in mobile marketing much to think about. Smartphones will continue to be a driving force in mobile marketing, but tablets and e-books are clearly on the rise. This post will review the study’s findings and examine some other research that shows why tablets and ebooks are valuable tools for marketers.

Back in September Pew reported that 43 percent of people age 16 and up had either an e-reader or a tablet. Following the holidays, a survey of 1,005 consumers age 18 and up found that 50 percent of the US adult population now has one of the devices. After the gift-giving season, about 42 percent of adults now own tablet computers, up from the 34 percent reported in September. And the number of adults who own an e-book reading device like a Kindle or Nook reader rose from 24 percent in September to 32 percent after the holidays. To be fair, these comparisons aren’t exactly apples to apples because of the age of the survey participants. The increase is probably higher since it’s plausible that many of the 16 and 17 year olds not included in this survey received tablets or e-readers as Christmas gifts.

The Pew study is good news for companies that are trying to build their brand through e-books. It means that half of the country is constantly searching for content that they can read on these devices. Aspiring authors can make money self publishing works and selling them online and businesses can increase brand awareness by free guides about their industry.

It’s understandable that some are skeptical about the value of e-books for marketing, but there is data to show that their use is on the rise. According to the Pew study, more than one quarter of US adults read e-books. That’s an impressive amount in itself, but it’s even more amazing when considering this percentage isn’t spread evenly across the population.

“The percentage of adults who read an e-book in the past year has risen to 28 percent, up from 23 percent at the end of 2012,” the researchers said in a press statement. “At the same time, about seven in ten Americans reported reading a book in print, up four percentage points after a slight dip in 2012, and 14 percent of adults listened to an audiobook.”

In essence, this implies that half of the people with tablets use them to read ebooks, and that percentage is rising every year. Ebooks and tablets won’t be replacing print books any time soon, if ever, but there is clearly a market that can be used for promoting a business. In fact, Americans are reading more in general.  Readership in any format, ebook or print, rose to 76 percent from 74 percent in 2012. Though, that’s still down from 2011.

The Pew study is just the latest addition to an already large array of research showing the benefits of tablets for internet marketing. Adobe reported that tablets account for more traffic to global sites than smartphones. Adobe’s research also found that 55 percent of tablet owners make purchases with their device compared to 28 percent of smartphone users. And even with apps, only 38 percent of smartphone users employed an app to make a purchase, compared to 46 percent of tablet users. These statistics reinforce the importance of tablet compatibility for small business websites and apps.

As the mobile marketing landscape continues to change, business owners and marketers need to constantly adapt their tactics to ensure their message reaches customers. It is clear that tablets are not just a passing fad and marketers need to ensure their content is available to this important, growing market. The growing readership of ebooks gives innovative marketers a way to reach a large audience that many have not fully considered. Make sure your business isn’t missing out of these new opportunities to increase mobile revenue.

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