Smartphone, tablet owners worldwide enjoy apps while watching TV, finds research

New research from NPD DisplaySearch reveals more than eight in 10 computer tablet and smartphone owners in 15 countries studied use their devices while watching television.

According to the research, “Quarterly Multi-Screen Usage Study,” checking email, browsing the Web, texting, visiting Facebook and checking the weather are among the most frequently applications accessed while watching television.

In total 88 percent of tablet PC owners and 82 percent of smartphone owners in the nations surveyed engage in this sort of multitasking behavior while in front of the TV.

“The rise in connected mobile devices has changed the way consumers view TV and online content,” said Riddhi Patel, research director at NPD DisplaySearch. “For many people around the world, multi-tasking with apps on smartphones and tablets while watching TV has forever changed the traditional TV-focused viewing experience.”

The research also revealed that 85 percent of tablet owners and 65 percent of smartphone owners view online content on their mobile devices instead of on their TVs at least some of the time.

Among those who use mobile devices to view online content, most said that they like the ability to watch from anywhere and do not have to compete with others for control of the TV remote.

Among the 15 percent of tablet owners who never watch online content on their mobile devices, the main reasons cited are that the screens are too small and that the sound quality is not as good as on TV.

Similarly, 35 percent of smartphone owners never use their smartphones to view online content because of the smaller screen sizes, difficulty holding them for long periods and poor sound quality.

The percentage of consumers who watch online content on their mobile devices instead of TVs also varies greatly depending on the type of market. For example, while 60 percent of connected-TV owners in the United States, France, Italy and other mature markets sometimes watch content on a tablet PC, the number jumps to 72 percent in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, and India.

The markets studied for the new research include: Brazil, China (urban), France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.