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Explosive growth in number of screens in consumer homes offers huge opportunities for brands

24th May 2013

Latest findings from Kantar Media’s syndicated study, futurePROOF, reveals that nearly one-quarter of the British population (23 per cent) has access to four screens at home (TV, computer, smartphone and tablet) compared to only 11 per cent six months ago. Consumers now have more ways to access entertainment, social networks and shopping sites, and are taking advantage of these opportunities.

Explosive growth fuels the rise of the 4-screen household

Source: The futurePROOF study, Kantar Media

As tablets are usually shared, the potential to reach consumers is huge, so PROs must appreciate that they can reach a very broad audience on tablets. Seven in ten of those with access to a tablet said these devices are shared by two or more adults in the household and 79 per cent of tablet users with children said their offspring also use them.

Tablets are generally used in the home (just 7 per cent of those with a tablet at home say they use it out-of-home on a daily basis, compared with 49 per cent who claim to use the device at home every day), whereas smartphones are used as a shopping aid while people are in-store (53 per cent of smartphone users claim to have used their device to search for information on a product or service while in-store).

For brands, the interesting questions are what do consumers like to buy on their devices? According to futurePROOF findings, mobile phone users prefer to phones for cheap convenient shopping, for example buying music, train tickets and placing time-critical eBay bids. Brands must also be aware that even if consumers aren’t shopping on their devices, they may well be doing research about shopping, with 70 per cent of users saying they use Smartphones and tablets to find out on products or services. When it comes to actual buying, tablet users are more likely to say they have bought products on their device (55 per cent) than smartphone users (41 per cent).

Tablet activities

Source: The futurePROOF study, Kantar Media

The dramatic increase on tablet ownership has greatly increased consumers’ ability to watch their favourite TV shows and films where and when they like. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of tablet users say they watched on-demand programmes or films on their device in the month prior to fieldwork. Not surprisingly, because of the small screen size, only 8 per cent of smartphone owners do the same on their phones. Other activities that benefit from a larger screen, such as Skype, are also popular with tablet users: Skype is used by 16 per cent of tablet users at least once a month compared with 10 per cent of smartphone users.

“This all has very exciting implications for media owners and advertisers alike” says Trevor Vagg, director at Kantar Media Custom. He adds: “With the proliferation of multi-screen households and the explosive growth in tablets at home, which has doubled from 16 per cent of the British population just six months ago to 32 per cent today, the industry has the opportunity to reach and engage with audiences across multiple platforms. As consumers adapt their choice of device used to suit the occasion, the challenge (and opportunity) for media owners and advertisers will be to design engaging experiences and impactful advertising which responds to this.”


The futurePROOF study is a syndicated study focused on adults (aged 16+) in Great Britain. Released bi-annually, it provides a snapshot of technology ownership and usage of digital media. The latest quantitative fieldwork took place in March 2013 with around 2,000 people from Kantar Media’s TGI database interviewed via telephone. Qualitative fieldwork took place in September 2012.

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