Another day and another study, this time from Cooper Murphy Webb. It’s always worth taking these kinds of surveys with a pinch of salt (although they studied 1000 ipad users), but it raises some interesting responses. 27% of owners never take the tablet out the house, and 35% rarely do (they probably took it around when they first got it to show off to their mates). So that’s over 60% of people who don’t see their ipad as a portable device. On the other side 16% of users said they usually or always take their ipad out with them. I have said previously that the ipad is emerging as a new channel that I am calling The Sofa Surfer. Another interesting result from the study was that most users spend around 10 hours per week on their device and primarily use it for web browsing.
This blog is to stake my claim as the originator of the Sofa Surfer. What is a Sofa Surfer? It started with the advent of the smartphone and the iphone in particular. With fast, easy access to the internet, users could quickly check their emails, update their Facebook status, send a Twitter message or just check IMDb to see who that actor was in the movie you’re watching. Studies, such as Orange’s Exposure 2 found that most mobile browsing was done at home, typically on the sofa watching the TV. Whilst there is evidence to support a number of people in front of the TV with their laptops on, that is not the same as the ‘quick dip’ of mobile browsing.
The appearance of tablet PCs and particularly the ipad will serve to develop this growing form of browsing. A survey by comScore found that most ipad users are interested in browsing and email, not necessarily the reading of ebooks that Apple et al are hoping for.
With these new browsing patterns comes the potential for a new media channel: Sofa Surfers are not out and about looking in shops, but by the same token they are not at the computer doing hardcore web browsing. They are relaxed and looking for entertainment. Will this be a route by which content providers and advertisers are looking to engage with customers? We’ll have to wait and see.