US Tablet Ownership Update, January 2014

Pew-Tablet-Adoption-Trends-US-Adults-Jan201444% of US online consumers owned tablets as of December 2013, up 6 points from a year earlier, according to new Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) estimates. For its part, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project says that 42% of US adults now own a tablet, citing results from a survey [pdf] conducted early this month. That represents an 8-point increase from 34% of adults just 4 months ago. The Pew study takes a closer look at the demographics of tablet owners.

Pew-US-Tablet-Adoption-Rates-in-Jan-2014-Jan2014While the study did not find any significant differences in tablet adoption by gender, there appears to be some variety when sorting by race and ethnicity. Some 45% of Hispanic adults reported owning a tablet, compared to 41% of whites and 34% of blacks. Pew doesn’t report a statistically significant difference on that end, though.

There are statistically significant differences in ownership when sorting by age group, education level, and household income.

The 30-49 age group continues to have the highest adoption rate – of 52% – although the 18-29 demo has closed the gap by virtue of its 48% penetration rate. Both were up significantly from Pew’s last update for September 2013, when the figures were 44% and 37%, respectively.

The January adoption rates for those groups remain appreciably higher than the comparable figures for 50-64-year-olds (37%) and the 65+ crowd (25%).

As for education level, 59% of college graduates report ownership of a tablet, compared to 45% of respondents with some college education and 29% of those with no college education.

Predictably at this point, tablet ownership tends to rise alongside household income levels. While roughly one-quarter of the <$30k group own a tablet, that figure increases all the way to 65% among those with at least $75k in household income. One interesting dynamic to note: 45% of households in the $30-50k range now own a tablet, a large increase from 29% in the September study. (It should be noted that the September survey was conducted among respondents aged 16 and older, so it’s not a direct apples-to-apples comparison.)

Other Findings:

  • Tablet ownership is no longer much lower among rural residents, now at 38% compared to 43% for urban and suburban respondents.
  • 32% of Americans aged 18 and up own an e-reader, up from 24% in September 2013. E-reader ownership continues to trend higher among women, whites, 30-49-year-olds, those with a college degree, and those with HHI of at least $75k.
  • Exactly half of American adults now own either a tablet or an e-reader.
  • 7 in 10 online consumers expect to buy a tablet sometime in the near future, according to the CEA research.
  • Gaming applications are the most popular among tablet owners, used by 66%, followed by weather apps (58%) and social networking apps (51%).
  • Some 35% of tablet owners surveyed by the CEA reported having purchased an app within the past month, and 58% of those spent more than $5.

About the Data: The Pew findings come from a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between January 2-5, 2014. The survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,005 adults ages 18 and older living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (505, including 268 without a landline phone), and were done in English and Spanish. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.