smartphone researchUsage of single-purpose consumer electronics (CE) devices is declining as users increase use of multi-purpose and mobile smartphones and tablets, according to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

U.S. consumers continue to use standalone CE devices, such as digital cameras and laptop PCs, but usage is declining, according to CEA’s “A Tale of Two Techs – Smartphone and Tablet Adoption and Usage.”

In households that own laptops, for instance, 43% of smartphone and 46% of tablet owners said they are spending less time with their laptops. Very few users – 1% of smartphone and 2% of tablet owners – said they have stopped using their laptop computers altogether, however.

The shift is more pronounced for other standalone CE devices, where “smartphones and laptops and being used more often and for more activities,” CEA found.

Seventy-eight percent of smartphone owners said smartphones are their primary device for taking photos, 74% for taking videos, 69% for getting directions, 62% for reading e-books, 59% for listening to music, and 39% for playing games.

Laptop and desktop computers remain the primary device for smartphone and tablet owners when it comes to browsing the Internet, shopping online, watching videos, and viewing and editing documents. That said, 85% of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to browse the Web and 89% to check email. Ninety-two percent of tablet owners use these mobile devices to browse the Web and 83% use their tablets to check email.

Camcorders, portable audio/MP3 players, portable game devices, GPS or navigation devices and dedicated e-readers are the CE devices that smartphone and tablet owners said they would most likely stop using altogether. Ninety-two percent of smartphone owners use these mobile devices to take pictures, 91% to make voice calls, and 76% for navigation. Tablets, in contrast, “are used for more leisurely activities such as playing games (78%), watching videos (66%), and reading e-books (61%).

“Smartphones and tablets have enriched, diversified and transformed the ecosystem of consumer electronics,” Rhonda Daniel, CEA senior manager, market research, was quoted in a press release. “As a result, mobile device owners are re-proportioning the time they spend using other standalone CE devices.

“While many single-function devices continue to play a distinct and relevant role in our digital lives, consumers are gravitating toward connected mobile devices able to perform multiple functions.”

Tablet penetration in U.S. households rose 17% year-over-year, while that for smartphones rose 12%, according to CEA’s 15th Annual CE Ownership and Market Potential Study, which was released earlier this week.

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