One in six mobile users now own tablets

ComScore finds that half of all tablet owners watch video content once a month on their tablet

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
June 8, 2012
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The other day I realized that Apple only came out with the first iPad two years ago.  It’s only been two years!  The iPad is still technically a baby.  But it’s become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to think it’s been around forever.  Same thing with the iPhone—remember that scene in the Sex and the City movie where Samantha hands Carrie her iPhone and Carrie takes one look at the touchscreen and the apps and hands it back, saying “I can’t use this”?  That was 2008.

ComScore released data today showing that tablet penetration has reached a new high, with one in six people (16.5%) now using tablets.  Among smartphone owners, that penetration rate is even higher.  Nearly one in four smartphone owners (23.6%) are using tablets.

Both figures represent a big leap from last year, when only 4.7% of the general population was using tablets, marking a difference of 11.8 percentage points.  And this time last year, only 9.7% of smartphone owners were using tablets, compared to 23.6% today, which represents a jump of 13.9 percentage points.

It comes as no surprise that tablet users tend to skew towards the higher income demographic.  Among households earning $100k a year and more, 37.7% own tablets, compared to 18.3% of those earning $75k-$100k, and 17.7% of those earning $25k-$50k.  They also tend to be used most widely among those ages 25-34.

Another interesting find: tablet users are three times more likely to watch video on their devices than smartphone users.  More than half of all tablet users watched video and/or TV content on their device compared to 20% of smartphone owners.  So it makes sense that tablet owners are also more likely than smartphone owners to watch video content on their devices regularly, with 24.6% watching up to three times a month, 18.9% watching once a week, and 9.5% watching every day.  Only 2.9% of smartphone owners admitted to watching video content on their devices every day.

More importantly, one in four tablet owners have actually paid for video content, which is good news for anyone looking to cash in on mobile video.

“Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in history and are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world both on-the-go and perhaps most notably, in the home,” said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP of Mobile, in a statement. “It’s not surprising to see that once consumers get their hands on their first tablet, they are using them for any number of media habits including TV viewing.”


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