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eReaders survive tablets and go mainstream

17 April 2013

  • Deloitte estimates that 8 million UK people own eReaders
  • eReaders present in a third of houses

Eight million people in the UK own eReaders, according to new research from Deloitte*, the business advisory firm. They are present in a third of households and one in 10 respondents said they would buy one in the next 12 months.

Deloitte’s research found that two-fifths of respondents chose reading books, whether digital or physical**, as one of their top three media pastimes, up slightly from 2011 (39%). Reading books came third, second only to TV (63%) and Internet (42%) use in terms of popularity.

eReaders
Mark Lee-Amies, Deloitte media partner, said: “The relatively low price of eReaders, the simplicity of their technology and the availability of a large body of cheap content have been principally responsible for their runaway success. It is possible that standalone eReaders will come under pressure as tablet prices continue to fall. It is not clear whether new product developments, such as back-lit screens, will be sufficient to persuade consumers to buy the latest version, particularly when pitched against aggressively-priced all-purpose tablets.”

The eReading demographic
eReader ownership continues to grow and the device is embraced most strongly by older people. It is particularly apparent among 45-54 year olds, with over a third (35%) most likely to have access to one. This could be due to greater wealth and corresponds with the higher adoption of tablets by older people.

Deloitte’s research found that avid readers are most likely to be female and aged over 24; 41 % of 25-34 year olds also chose reading as one of their favourite media pastimes. Younger female respondents are similar to their male counterparts and chose Internet use and videogames as their favourite media pastimes.

Deloitte’s research found that there had been a 65 % increase in consumers buying eBooks in 2012. Half of the respondents (50%) said they read more books in digital format than in hard or softcopy. A fifth download an eBook a few times a year. This could be due to their cheaper price, reinforced by respondents who chose affordability as the third most important factor that influenced their purchase of  digital rather than physical books.***

Matthew Guest, Deloitte director, said: “eBooks offered for less than £1, and in many cases for free, represent a major shift in publishing. They are contributing to a fundamental change in the economics of publishing:  digital books make up about 14%of sales in volume but only seven % of value.

“This isn’t necessarily bad news for publishers. The success of titles that were initially self-published in electronic format and became bestsellers in print when taken on by a publisher shows that demand is changing and traditional publishers will have to change strategy.”

End

Notes to editors
*7th annual media consumer survey.
** Either physical books or via an e-book reader/online
*** The other reasons selected were their lightness (14%) and the ability to download a sample of a digital book before you buy the entire digital book (14%).

About the research
This is the seventh annual edition of research commissioned by Deloitte’s Media & Entertainment practice.

Focusing on four generations of respondents, the survey provides a ‘reality check’ on how consumers between the ages of 14 and 75 are interacting with media, entertainment, and information, and what their preferences might be in the future. The survey was carried out by YouGov during December 2012, using an online methodology with 2,085 consumers in the UK and over 16,000 worldwide.

We regard changes of five per cent or more as statistically relevant and where possible have referred to time series data from previous surveys.

The report also refers to results of other Deloitte research programmes in the media, telecoms, technology and retail markets. These can be found at www.deloitte.co.uk/mediaconsumer or by contacting mguest@deloitte.uk.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Media contacts

Name:
Laura Parsons
Company:
Deloitte LLP
Job Title:
Phone:
+44 (0) 20 7303 0885
Email
lauparsons@deloitte.co.uk

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