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opa-tablet-users-profile-june2012.png4 in 10 tablet users (defined as owners or regular users of a tablet) are between the ages of 35 and 64, per June 2012 survey results [pdf] from the Online Publishers Association. And that user base will only solidify over time: further data from the report indicates that 46% of new buyers are in that age range, including 31% who are between the ages of 45 and 64. Overall, the report concludes that the tablet user base is trending older, as the proportion aged between 8 and 24 has fallen 8% over the past year, while the proportion aged 35 to 54 has grown 8%.

Data from comScore also released in June finds an even greater share of tablet owners aged older than 35: according to that report, 49.3% of the tablet audience is aged between 35 and 64, while an additional 6.8% are over 65.

As recent research from the Boston Consulting Group finds Millennials to be rapid new technology adopters, the OPA results showing increased use among older groups may be another indicator that tablets are moving out of a “new technology” perception and into mainstream adoption.

More Women Adopting Tablets

Data from OPA’s “A Portrait of Today’s Tablet User Wave II” indicates that while tablet usage skews male, that situation is also beginning to change. Women, who made up 51% of the almost 2,500 total survey respondents, accounted for 44% of the tablet user base, up 4% from the previous wave of the survey. And among respondents who do not currently own a tablet but plan to purchase one in the next 12 months, 52% are female.

Affluent Over-Index in Tablet Usage

Compared to the overall survey sample, higher-income households (HHI) clearly over-index in tablet usage. For example, respondents with an HHI of at least $100k accounted for 20% of the tablet user base, as compared to 12% of the survey sample. Similarly, those with an HHI of at least $50k accounted for 59% of the tablet users, versus 41% of the total sample.

According to the comScore figures (see link above), three-quarters of the tablet audience has a household income of more than $50k.

Ads Lead Almost 2 in 5 to Purchase

Ads certainly appear to have an effect on tablet users responding to the OPA survey. 38% report having made a purchase within the past 6 months after seeing an ad on their tablet. Among tablet users who are purchasers of content such as newspaper subscriptions or books, ads play even more of an influence, driving 54% to a purchase.

Other Findings:

  • 31% of the survey respondents reported being either tablet owners or regular users. 94% of those indicate they own their tablets.
  • The proportion of tablet users who are very satisfied with their device has risen from 50% in 2011 to 58% this year.
  • 74% of tablet users are on their device at least daily. This translates to an average of 13.9 hours per week spent using a tablet.
  • One-third of tablet use is occurring outside the home.
  • The most popular tablet activity is accessing content and information, at 94% of respondents, up from 87% in 2011. According to a University of Missouri report released in June, 84% of survey respondents who own an Apple iPad access news provided by news organizations for an average of 7.3 hours per week.
  • A majority of tablet users responding to the OPA survey said they prefer reading on tablets to reading on mobile phones, computers, newspapers, and magazines. In fact, the University of Missouri report found that among mobile media owners 55 and older, 75% use an iPad for leisure reading, and average 5.8 hours a week for this activity.
  • 85% of the OPA survey’s tablet users multitask on 2 screens, and two-thirds do so on 3 screens.
  • 23% of tablet applications downloaded in the past year by users were paid apps.
  • The types of content most commonly paid for by tablet users are magazines, entertainment, sports, and weather.
  • Tablet users are almost 3 times more likely to prefer a free app with ads (54%) than to pay slightly more for an app with no ads (19%).
  • The most popular types of products researched on a tablet in the past 6 months are consumer electronics (37%), restaurants/fast food (36%), media and entertainment, and retail and apparel (both at 35%).
  • Tablet users purchased an average of $359 in products from tablets in the past year.

About the Data: The OPA report is based on a survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. The data comes from a nationally representative online survey of 2,540 internet users between the ages of 8 and 64. Data was collected from March 19 through March 26, 2012.

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