Tablet ownership doubled over holidays

Nathan Pensky · January 23, 2012 · Short URL:

New findings show that number of American adults using tablets jumped to 19%

The appetite for tablets is exploding. It's said that mainstream penetration is about 20% of a market. If that's the case, tablets have just gone mainstream. This just two years after Apple released its first iPad back at the start of 2010.

According to new findings from the Pew Research Center, a whole lot of people have started using tablets over the holiday season. While to a lot of you, this won't be much of a news flash, as much as a case of numbers confirming what was readily apparent, the numbers are still pretty impressive.

About 19% of American adults are using some form of tablet, which is a marked uptick from only December 2011, when polls showed that only 10% were, according to Pew. The same percentage increase between December 2011 occurred in American adults who are using some form of e-reader. But the sharp increase of those who were using one or the other, either a tablet or an e-reading device, went from 18% in December to 29% in January.

What is most striking is the relatively short amount of time the amount of American tablet owners has, essentially, doubled. Pew indicated in its report that a similar study measuring the increase in tablet use between mid-2011 and autumn of that year yielded nothing like the end of year numbers, when the holiday season drove people in huge numbers to purchase new tablets.

The Pew Research Center specifically cited the low cost of the new Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook e-reading devices in relation to the increase in tablet owenrship and use. “In the time we have been doing surveys about the adoption and use of digital technology, we have never seen growth quite like this," said a representative of Pew Research Center to VatorNews.

"These findings have major implications for every media company, especially book publishers, everyone in a knowledge business, and key community institutions like libraries," the rep continued. "They show how radically the tectonic plates of information creation and dissemination are shifting under our feet."

Any way you slice it, tablets are one of the most vital markets going right now. VatorNews has written a lot about the ongoing competition between the different tablets. The latest numbers have the iPad and the Kindle Fire trading places every so often for the No. 1 spot. But what is becoming clearer is how their competition with each other seems to be helping the market as a whole.

Back in 2010, Apple debuted the iPad to a less than enthusiastic tech community, with many questioning why anyone would need an overgrown smart phone. But after numbers like these, we doubt if anyone is asking those questions any more.

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