28% of Brits Own eReaders, But Far More Own Tablets and Smartphones

According to a new survey from Ofcom, reports of the death of the ereader have been greatly exaggerated.

The UK’s equivalent of the FCC has published its annual Communications Market Report this week, and that report shows that 28% of British households now own ereaders. That figure continues to grow slightly for the second year in a row, but it is still dwarfed by tablet and smartphone ownership.

As you can see in the following chart, 66% of respondents had a smartphone, and 56% had a tablet.

ofcom survey

Smartphones have obviously supplanted ereaders, which should come as no surprise. After all, readers are a minority, while everyone needs to make a call. So it makes perfect sense that a more general purpose device like a smartphone would see greater adoption than a specialized device like an ereader.

And it should also be expected that people would tend to use that smartphone more than other devices simply because they have it with them.

A later section of the survey asked respondents which device was most important for accessing the web. For the first year ever, smartphones have replaced laptops and desktops as the top choice.

Tablets aren’t too far behind:

And not only is the smartphone the device most-often used for getting online, it’s also the second most missed device after the TV.

Everyone has been saying that mobile was important, and that we would soon reach a post-PC consumer landscape, and I think it just arrived.

The report is 124 pages long, and I’ve just scratched the surface. You can download the PDF from Ofcom.

Ofcom(PDF) via InfoDocket

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Reader6 August, 2015

    Note that e-reader ownership in the UK is still trending upward, in contrast to many digital devices.

    1. Timothy Wilhoit6 August, 2015

      This is true. E-reader adoption rose from 24% to 28% in a single year, 2014-15. That is not insignificant. Considering that an ereader has a single purpose (to read) and ereader users generally go through a LOT of books, it’s important. Although I will read on my phone if I have nothing else, I don’t really like it. If a phone-sized gadget was all I could use for e-books, I probably wouldn’t buy e-books.

  2. Mackay Bell6 August, 2015

    Hey Nate, I like the new header.

    (Unless it’s a very subtle advertisement, in which case I like that too.)

    1. Nate Hoffelder6 August, 2015

      Nope, it is just broken.

      A bunch of things broke in the last WP update. That’s why I’m going to replace the theme this weekend.

    2. Nate Hoffelder6 August, 2015

      The new theme is going to look like this. I’ve been working on it for a couple weeks now.

      1. Mackay Bell7 August, 2015

        Looks nice and clean. Easy to read and clear.

        1. Nate Hoffelder7 August, 2015


  3. Tim Wilhoit6 August, 2015

    There was an interesting bit of information on page 23. Although it doesn’t have much to do with your topic, one line in the table says “Proportion of adults who live in a mobile-only home…15%.” I’m not sure what the percentage is in the U.S. but I’m fairly confident it’s far, far greater than 15%. A bare-bones landline (in my area) is close to $25 per month. I know very few people, even older folks, who still have a landline. I can only assume that landline telephone service is dirt cheap in the UK.

    1. Reader7 August, 2015

      When you factor in taxes, that bare-bones landline can approach $40/month.


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