A new report from comScore has found that tablets have quickly reached a “critical mass” in the U.S., with 1 in every 4 smartphone owners using tablets during the three-month average period ending April 2012.
The study also found that tablet users were nearly three times more likely to watch video on their devices compared to smartphone users, with 1 in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily.
“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,” says Mark Donovan, comScore SVP of Mobile. “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.”
Adoption Jumps Nearly 12 Percent
In just two years since the launch of the iPad, the first tablet to reach a meaningful market penetration, tablet adoption has exploded, fueled by the introduction of new devices that appeal to various price and feature preferences. In April 2012, 16.5 percent of mobile phone subscribers used a tablet, representing an increase of 11.8 percentage points in the past year.
Growth in market penetration was even more apparent among the smartphone population with nearly 1 in 4 using a tablet device in April, an increase of 13.9 percentage points in the past year. A lower 10.4 percent of feature phone owners use a tablet, suggesting that smartphone ownership is highly predictive of tablet adoption in the current market.
Older Users on the Whole
A demographic analysis of mobile device audiences indicated that tablet and smartphone audiences closely resemble one another in terms of gender composition, with tablet users just slightly more likely to be female than smartphone users. However, the age composition of audiences showed that tablet users skewed noticeably older than smartphone users.
For both devices, the heaviest overall audience concentration was between the ages of 25-44. Compared to smartphone owners, tablet users were 28 percent more likely to be in the 65 and older age segment, and 27 percent less likely to be age 18-24.
Tablet users also skewed towards upper-income households, likely a function of the high price point of these devices still considered a luxury good to many consumers. Nearly 3 in 5 tablet users resided in households with income of $75,000 or greater, compared to 1 in every 2 smartphone users.
Video Content Consumers
A closer look at content consumption on tablets found that more than half of tablet users watched video and/or TV content on their device in April 2012, compared to just 20 percent of the smartphone audience, with larger screen sizes making tablets more conducive to video consumption than their smaller-screen cousins. Not only were tablet users more likely to watch video, but they were more likely to view video habitually, with 18.9 percent of tablet users watching video content at least once a week, and 9.5 percent watching video nearly every day on their devices.
Of those viewing video at least once during the month, 1 in 4 (26.7 percent) paid to watch content, highlighting the tremendous monetization potential this platform represents for content providers.