Nation of digital media addicts to buy 450,000 tablet devices by Christmas

9 Sep 2013

There will be a surge in tablet ownership, with 450,000 devices to be acquired by the end of the year, bringing the total number of tablet computers in Ireland to 1.3m, the latest Eircom Household Sentiment Survey suggests.

The biannual survey of 1,000 people discovered new behavioural habits being urged on by the march of digital.

Nearly 75pc of 16-to-24-year-olds admit to “media stacking” or multi-tasking in terms of using multiple digital devices at the same time. For example, many would post or tweet on a different topic while watching TV.

Future Human

Across the wider nation this occurs among a third of the population.

Ireland is also becoming a nation of “informers”, with one in five regularly sharing online content.

However, there is still a significant swathe of the population that does not understand technology and almost half of 50-to-64-year-olds and three-quarters of over 65s fall into this category.

Planet of the apps

Ireland is fast emerging as an app-savvy nation, with 51pc of people relying on apps to find directions, 56pc using apps to keep up with news and sport, 28pc use apps to keep fit and 41pc use apps for travel in general.

The average number of apps on an Irish mobile phone owner’s device is 21.

Some 45pc of people admit to being addicted to social networking sites, indicating that almost one in two people have ultra personalities – a tendency to fanatically check social networking apps for updates.

Almost one in five of rely on app translators to get by when abroad.

The TV-watching family is splitting apart

Once, watching TV was an all-family activity – that’s because Ireland had only a few channels to watch. But now, because there are many ways to watch TV on various devices, the TV-watching family is splitting.

Some 59pc of TV viewers still watch TV as a way of bonding with loved ones, with shows like X Factor keeping clans intact. This is particularly true among Dublin families, where the numbers jump to two-thirds.

However, 11pc of TV viewers watch TV in their car while sitting outside their own home and 25pc watch TV on a portable device at home.

This is actually good news for tablet manufacturers because tablet ownership is on the rise and a major Christmas surge is expected and 450,000 devices will be bought before the end of the year.

Around 1.3m of Irish people will have access to a tablet device by the end of this year.

Some 53pc of us now have a smartphone, amounting to 1.7m smartphone users in Ireland.

Interestingly, when it comes to blending social media and smartphones, some 39pc of smartphone users admit to being “economical with the truth” on social media, and more than half say they are tired of social media because of the surplus of useless information.

Still, for 43pc, checking social media sites is the last thing they do at night.

“Media stacking is a fascinating behavioural trend emerging from the Eircom Household Sentiment Survey that gives an insight into how we, as a society, will engage with technology in the future,” said David Coleman, a clinical psychologist who worked with Eircom on the study.

“In homes across the country, parents of teenagers, whether they are aware of it or not, now witness the practice of media stacking on a regular basis. The heightened levels of engagement mean that the days of just sitting down to watch TV are gone,” Coleman said.

Social tablet image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years