Now That We’ve Hit Peak Tablet…

Tablet-down-graph-600x470It seems tablet sales have hit the ceiling; what does this mean to your publishing strategy?

“Have tablets failed to become little more than nice-to-have devices?” asks Felim McGrath in The Media Briefing.

It would appear so. Not only have tablet sales slumped, the number of people who say they own a tablet is actually dropping, from 47% last year to 42% now, McGrath notes.

“This trend if particularly striking if we contrast this with the growth of smartphone over the same period (up over 10 points),” he adds.

And it’s not just ownership that’s slipping, but actual interest in using the device.

“While tablet usage grew strongly in the early years of the 10s, 2016 has been the first year that figures have declined,” explains McGrath, who notes that usage among the younger demographic is particularly weak.

“And even among tablet users themselves, it’s only about 1 in 10 who say their tablet is their most importance device. Clearly, they have never become the essential devices that some predicted they would be,” he continues.

What does all this mean to your publishing strategy?

“For publishers, this means that tablet-only publication is certainly a dead-end, and that although optimization for each device is key, creating a good user experience on mobile is paramount,” says McGrath.

For the industry as a whole, this is probably not a big shocker; tablet magazines have been in a state of dismay for some time now, with hugely disappointing sales figures and dismal ad sales. It’s been clear for at least a year now that tablet titles are an increasingly minor part of most brand strategies.

The whole tablet phenomenon was fascinating to watch, and a good lesson learned in the importance of user experience and the preference most people have for print titles. Whether magazines will ultimately translate into a good mobile experience is another issue to watch.