Zoom! Tablet ownership almost doubled over the holidays

by David Needle

January 23 2012

If you bought or received a shiny new tablet over the holidays you’re in good company. A new study shows a big jump in tablet ownership between mid-December and early January as sales picked up some serious steam.

The tablet industry received the best gift it could have hoped for over the holidays, a huge surge in tablet ownership. A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that the share of adults in the United States who own tablets almost doubled from 10% to !9% over the holidays with ereaders seeing the same percentage jump as well. 

The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.

“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 Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet Project. “These findings have major implications for every media company, especially book publishers, everyone in a knowledge business, and key community institutions like libraries. They show how radically the tectonic plates of information creation and dissemination are shifting under our feet.”

The Pew report notes the introduction of lower cost devices around the holiday timeframe likely played a role in the surge of tablet and ereader owners. Specifically, the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire, which has reportedly sold millions of units since its introduction last November and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet at $249. On the ereader side, some versions of the Kindle and Nook and other readers fell well below $100.

The Pew study said growth in tablet ownership was especially notable among those with higher levels of education and those living in households earning more than $75,000. More than a third of those living in households earning more than $75,000 (36%) now own a tablet computer. And almost a third of those with college educations or higher (31%) own the devices. Additionally, the Pew report shows a particularly significant leap in tablet ownership among users under 50 years old.

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