New research from Adobe casts doubt on the demise of the desktop PC. Who wants to carry around a screen big enough to do real work?
By Jon Peddie
The amazement over the popularity of tablets has become a major interest of ethno- and cultural anthropologists, which, interestingly enough, seems to be every marketing manager, journalist, investor, and industry analyst—who knew the tribe was that big?
Open any magazine, web page, or conversation at a conference, and you will learn (without asking) why tablets are so popular, and how your life will change (for the better) when you accept that and learn how to use one. I’m still waiting for my life to change, but I’m a slow and sometimes stubborn learner. I seriously resisted learning fractional negative number theory and infinitesimal calculus, figuring no good would come of it—if you can’t see it, how real is it?
So as our million or so self-proclaimed anthropologists are discovering, people use a tablet for different things than how they use a smart phone, a PC, or game console. Imagine.
Size matters. So do comfort and resources. No doubt these are startling and perhaps disturbing new concepts to you, and you might want to pause and think on it a bit before continuing. For those of you still with us, we have learned that one will spend less time looking at a website when using a smartphone than when using a tablet, and will spend more time looking a website using a laptop or desktop PC than a tablet. It’s simply not comfortable to look at a little screen that must be held by the user for a long period of time. A tablet offers a larger screen, which is more comfortable to look at, but it still has to be held, or propped up by something, making it look very much like a notebook computer.
And what you are looking at is also a factor. If it’s quick news or a funny video, Mr. Smartphone is fine. If you are shopping or watching movies, the tablet is more convenient. And if you are doing serious work and opening and closing files and directories, then a PC is a more comfortable choice.
Adobe has looked into this matter with a view as to what a person does who is shopping online. After analyzing more than 100 billion visits to 1,000+ websites worldwide, Adobe Digital Index has discovered that global websites that sell stuff are now getting more traffic from tablets than smartphones. If you like infographics and data, there’s a lot to study: http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/digital-index/tablets-trump-smartphones-in-global-website-traffic/
Adobe also found that tablet users are more affluent and among the most gadget-oriented consumers. They tend to use their tablets instead of their computers at home. That data is based on 15 billion visits in January 2013, comprises the aggregated and anonymous data from 600+ websites, and can be found here (check page 7): http://success.adobe.com/assets/en/downloads/whitepaper/13926_di_bestofbest_report_en_032013.pdf
These findings may be annoying to those who want to write the PC’s epitaph (and why such enthusiasm for doing that? What’s the PC ever done to you?)