The number of Americans who own tablets is accelerating, according to new data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
This time last year, roughly 18 percent of Americans owned a tablet; that number now stands at 34 percent. Tablet-owners tend to be richer (more than half of them make at least $75,000 per year), college graduates, and older.
“Unlike smartphones, which are most popular with younger adults ages 18-34, we see the highest rates of tablet ownership among adults in their late thirties and early forties,” read Pew’s summary of its data. “In fact, almost half (49 percent) of adults ages 35-44 now own a tablet computer, significantly more than any other age group.” There was “no statistically significant differences in tablet ownership” between genders, ethnicities or races.
Pew drew its data from a survey of 2,252 adults aged 18 and older, conducted between April 17 and May 19 of this year.
Those living in the suburbs were more likely than rural residents to own a tablet (37 percent to 27 percent), while parents with minor children were more likely to be tablet-owners than non-parents (50 percent to 27 percent). Tablet adoption has been much slower among those Americans who did not complete high school, and among those aged 65 and older.
Although Pew didn’t mention it, Americans are going for smaller tablets: according to recent data from research firm IDC, tablet shipments will grow 58.7 percent year-over-year in 2013, reaching 229.3 million units—a significant jump from the 144.5 million units shipped in 2012; at the current rate, IDC foresees tablet shipments exceeding those of desktops and laptops by 2015.
“What started as a sign of tough economic times has quickly shifted to a change in the global computing paradigm with mobile being the primary benefactor,” Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC’s Mobility Trackers, wrote in a statement accompanying that data. “Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them.”
The line between smartphones and tablets has also begun to blur, thanks in large part to the popularity of Samsung’s “phablets.” According to Reuters, even Apple is considering whether to build smartphones with oversized screens.
Image: Pew Internet & American Life Project