By Aimee Chanthadavong

Australian homes are more connected than ever, according to the latest Australian Multi-Screen Report.

Twenty-seven per cent of Australians home have four screens: television, computer, smartphone and tablet. This is up from 16 per cent a year ago.

Televisions still remain at the core of Australian homes with 99 per cent of them continue to spend a majority of their screen time with the in-home TV set. Strong overall use of the TV screen reflects the take-up of internet connected TVs, now in 21 per cent of homes and increasing variety of devices attached to the main TV set, such as games consoles, ‘over-the-top’ television services, and PVRs – now in 53 per cent of homes.

People have also been embracing new screen technologies to complement their TV viewing. An estimated 31 per cent of homes now have tablets – more than double the 15 per cent estimated in Q1 2012.

Laptops and desktop computers, which have the highest household ownership rates compared to other devices, are the primary devices used for multi-tasking, although people’s preference to use them for this purpose has declined year-on-year. Meanwhile, as their take-up continues to rise, smartphones and tablets are increasingly the primary devices people use for multi-tasking.

Speaking to RetailBiz, Nielsen associate research director, cross platform, Lillian Zrim, said such findings goes to show consumers are engaging with multiple devices and it’s something retailers need to be aware of.

“For retailers and for any business or brand, having presence on those new media platforms is going to be important. Even though the TV screen is still dominant for something like video consumption, others are on the rise so businesses need to have strategies in place for these emerging platforms. Content produced for different screens also need to be optimised for that environment, otherwise the consumer experience could be diminished,” she said

“It’s not just about brand content it’s advertising as well. More people are engaging with a number of screens like their tablet, TVs and mobile devices – often at the same time and sometimes related to each other. It's a great opportunity for advertisers to reach audiences on multiple touchpoints with cross-screen campaign."

Zrim however warned that retailers need to plan digital executions carefully and have a good strategy in place when choosing which platforms to engage with their customers.

“In terms of putting your brand on multiple platforms it’s really important to have a precise, manageable and long-term strategy in place."