Popular eReaders such as the Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader can be found in literary-minded technophiles’ bookshelves. Resting right next to beloved books by Dickens, Camus and Vonnegut, Jr. is a wondrous little piece of technology that can hold their combined work, and then some. But with the rise of the more versatile tablet, will eReaders be phased out?
A new report by The NPD Group focused on Canadian consumer trends found that although both products currently enjoy a similar ownership percentage, tablets are “poised to surpass eReader penetration” in the Great White North.
The research also turned up that tablet owners spent more time fiddling with the device than those with eReaders.
“Our research shows that there’s definitely an existing demand for tablets among Canadians and substantial growth potential; yet, many Canadians are still biding their time before they make the leap of purchasing the device,” said Darrel Ryce, the NPDs Director of Technology and Entertainment. “However, those who have a tablet are very satisfied with the device, which is clearly evident in usage data that indicates half of tablet owners are using the device two to six hours a day.”
In contrast, the eReaders, which the analyst suggests has a “slimmer” market, turned up much lowers usage statistics: 38% of those surveyed said they spend just a few hours each week with it, and 27% use an eReader less than one hour a day.
That’s not to say eReaders are faltering, however.
Industry analyst and news site DigiTimes announced that competition between two of the more popular eReaders – Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook – is taking off. Contrary to past figures, the Nook outpaced the Kindle in March. The site’s resident analyst chalked up the boost to the Nook’s newness factor and the retail possibilities provided by the company’s brick-and-mortar locations.
The Kindle continues to prove profitable, too. The International Business Times reported that analyst firm Caris & Co. believes the successful eReader will bring in over $5 billion in revenue this year.
Apple’s iPad, buoyed by the popularity of other iDevices, has sold millions of units despite its sizable price points. Even as the ubiquitous product’s latest revision breaks its forebear’s sales records (and the company struggles to meet demand), other tablets have been unable to gain a foothold in the market.
Motorola’s XOOM, for example, shipped around 250,000 units during the first quarter of 2011. One analyst who spoke with CNN Money placed the actual sell-through numbers somewhere between 25,000 and 120,000.
Feature-filled tablets aren’t responsible for floundering PC sales, but it’s likely they could sway consumers away from eReaders. On the other hand, a new article at NPR suggests eReaders like the Nook could essentially become tablets through some clever tinkering (read: hacking). But would average consumers bite?
Do you own an eReader? Tablet? Both? Or are you still on the fence? Let us know which product you think will come out on top.