A recent Citigroup survey asked 1,800 consumers from the U.S., UK, and China what purposes their tablets served. Probably expected, most tablet wielders are browsing the web, checking email, or instant messaging. What may come as more of a surprise, however, is that approximately 62 percent of participants shared that their tablet purchase would be to try out a toy or gadget while only about 18 percent of surveyed consumers said they intend to use it for work. Are tablet users treating the popular technology as recreation rather than using it to be more productive?

Another interesting trend the survey points to is the fact that iPad owners are not only downloading more apps, but are more willing to pay for them too (compared to non-iPad owners). On average, iPad owners are downloading an average of 15 apps, while others are downloading an average of 10.

On the subject of apps, only a small percentage is using it for reading, work, or productivity. The survey compared anticipated versus actual usage of applications and found very little discrepancy. Most app categories had less than a five percent difference. This means that most tablet owners are using their devices exactly how they intended to prior to purchasing them.

With the facts laid out, what do these numbers tell us about the direction that tablets may be taking? For one thing, this probably shows us that tablets are not going to replace our desktops and laptops any time soon. If tablet users are intending for the technology to be a gadget or toy, they are not likely to do productive work with it. Of course, as with all surveys, we must be look beyond the percentages and account for statistical errors, wording of the survey questions, participant demographics, and more.

More importantly, as a plethora of new applications are being developed every day, we may start to see an increase in professionals finding new function to these extremely fast, portable devices. Only about 8 percent of surveyed consumers are using it for tasks like note-taking at the moment, but as the tablet continues shooting up in popularity and functionality, it wouldn't be a surprise to see larger shifts in all areas of usage.