Tablets Starting to Replace Other Traditional Devices

Tablets are cutting into desktop and laptop use and are also stealing time from e-readers and dedicated gaming machines, according to a new survey from Nielsen Co. The company found that the rise of tablets has started to shift the computing load away from more traditional machines and now presents a significant challenge to hardware makers.

Nielsen said that 35 percent of tablet owners said they used their desktop less or not at all now, and 32 percent of laptop users said the same since they bought a tablet. This may explain some of  the recent falling PC sales figures; IDC said PC shipments fell by 3.2 percent in the first quarter, in part due to the rise of tablets like the iPad. IDC said while the economy and lack of compelling new hardware experiences played a role, new tablets are als

o providing options for consumers. Apple (s aapl) is the clear winner in the early tablet race with 82 percent of tablet owners buying one, according to Nielsen, followed by the Samsung Galaxy Tab at 4 percent.

But it’s not just PCs that are being affected. E-readers and gaming machines are also getting used less because of tablets. Nielsen found that 27 percent of ereaders owner said they used those devices less since getting a tablet. And a quarter of portable gaming machine users and 20 percent of gaming console owners reported using them less or not at all since they got a tablet. Companies such as Nintendo are having to deal with the rise of gaming on mobile devices like smartphones and the iPad. Nintendo recently reported a 29 percent drop in revenue for its latest fiscal year as hardware sales dropped.

We’re still early in the tablet era and it’s not clear that all of these usage declines for other machines is solely due to tablets. Smartphones have also been easing our reliance on traditional machines. And there are external factors like a lingering tough economy that can affect some hardware sales. But the tablets are proving to be a significant presence in the computing landscape and will continue to reorder our hardware needs as they grow in popularity.

More than 3 out of 4 tablet owners (77 percent) said they used their tablet for things they used to turn to a desktop or laptop for. Some of the top reasons for using a tablet include is that it’s easy to carry (31 percent), has an easy interface (21 percent) and starts-up quickly (15 percent).