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pew-gadget-ownership.jpgThe share of US adults who own tablets nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December 2011 and early January 2012, and the same surge in growth also applied to e-readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same period, according to [pdf] survey results released in January 2012 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In November 2010, just 5% of Americans owned a tablet, meaning that ownership has almost quadrupled in the past 14 months.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans owning a tablet or an e-reader jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.

Tablet Penetration Higher Among Hispanics, African Americans

21% of Hispanics and African Americans own a tablet as of mid-January 2012, compared to 19% of Caucasians. In November 2010, penetration among Hispanics (7%) was far higher than among African Americans and Caucasians (both at 4%), although the gap had narrowed by mid-December 2011, with Caucasians and Hispanics both seeing adoption rates of 10%.

December 2011 figures from eMarketer also demonstrate higher tablet adoption among US ethnic groups: 14.4% of Asian Americans used a tablet at least one a month in 2011, according to the estimate, the highest penetration among ethnic groups. Hispanics (12.6%), African Americans (10.5%), and Caucasians (10.1%) followed.

Gen X, Y Buy In

Data from the Pew surveys indicate a notable surge in ownership of tablet computers from mid-December 2011 to January 2012 among adults aged 18-29 (24% now vs. 10% then) and those aged 30-49 (27% now vs. 14% then). The share of college graduates owning a tablet also increased from 17% to 31%, while 36% of those living in households earning more than $75,000 now own a tablet, compared to 22% in mid-December.

E-Reader Ownership Grows Faster Among Women

The growth in e-readers was somewhat different than for tablets. Ownership of e-readers among women grew more than among men, jumping 10% points from 11% to 21%, compared to 7% points for men (from 9% to 16%). As with tablet ownership, those with more education and higher incomes lead the pack when it comes to e-reader ownership, but the gap between them and others is not as dramatic as it is among tablet owners. For instance, 19% of those in households earning $30,000-$50,000 have e-readers, compared to 16% who have tablets. And while the gap between households earning $30,000-$50,000 and those earning $75,000 or more is 12% points in e-reader ownership, the gap between those income levels on tablet ownership is 20% points.

Other Findings:

  • The proportion of men and women owning tablets is equal.
  • Adults aged 50-64 almost doubled their tablet ownership over the holiday period, rising from 8% to 15%.
  • E-reader ownership among adults 18-29 grew from 7% to 18% over the period, the largest percentage growth among age groups.

About the Data: The Pew results come from ongoing surveys by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project aimed at tracking growth in the ownership of both devices. A pre-holiday survey was conducted among 2,986 people age 16 and older between November 16 and December 21, 2011. The post-holiday data come from the combined results of two surveys – one conducted January 5-8 among 1,000 adults age 18 and older and another conducted January 12-15 of 1,008 adults.

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