E-readers and Tablets Could Become This Decade's MP3 Players, Says BCG Survey
E-readers and tablets are poised to become wildly popular and successful consumer devices, according to a recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) consumer preference survey of nearly 13,000 consumers in 14 countries, including China, India, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The global consulting firm found that 28 percent of all respondents-and 51 percent of those familiar with the devices-plan to purchase an e-book reader or tablet computer within the next year. And given a three-year time frame, those percentages increase to 49 percent and 73 percent, respectively.
"The survey suggests that e-readers and tablets are not a niche product for early adopters but could become the MP3 players of this decade. Grandmothers will soon be carrying them around," says John Rose, global leader of BCG's Media practice.
The survey found that, of those interested in purchasing an e-reader over the next three years, more than 90 percent would use the device for e-books, and over 80 percent would use it to read the online versions of magazines and newspapers. In the United States, however, consumers are willing to pay only $5 to $10 for digital books, below the price that book publishers are targeting. In regard to newspapers and magazines, consumers are willing to pay $2 to $4 for a single issue of an online magazine, comparable to the cost of the print version, and $5 to $10 for a monthly online newspaper subscription. While this is less than the cost of a print subscription, the digital version is cheaper to produce.
Consumers clearly want to do more than just read with these devices, according to the survey. Globally, 66 percent of respondents would prefer to buy a multipurpose device, whereas only 24 percent prefer a single-function device, such as the Amazon Kindle. The remainder said they were undecided.