US Tablet Owner Demographics as of September 2013

October 21, 2013

Pew-US-Tablet-Adoption-Rates-in-Sep-2013-Oct201335% of Americans aged 16 and older now own a tablet, says the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, citing results from a survey [pdf] conducted between July and September. While that figure represents a large increase from 25% in November of last year, it’s only a marginal increase from a May Pew study, in which it found 34% of adults aged 18 and over to own a tablet. As with the previous study, this latest research covers the demographics of tablet owners, but with a couple of extra pieces of data.

Pew says that its latest survey contained enough English-speaking Asian-American respondents to allow them to be included as a separate, statistically-significant sample. And the results are certainly interesting: 50% of Asian-Americans aged 16 and over reported owning a tablet, far above the corresponding rates for Hispanics (37%), whites (35%), and blacks (29%).

Given that this latest survey looked at Americans aged 16 and up, rather than the prior survey’s 18+ range, it also contains some data concerning smartphone ownership among 16-17-year-olds. This group also claims high rates of tablet ownership: at 46% penetration, it’s above all other age groups in the study, with the 30-49 demo next (44%), followed by the 18-29 (37%), 50-64 (31%) and 65+ (18%) groups.

Unsurprisingly given the earlier research, there remains a large disparity in tablet ownership when sorting by education attainment and household income. Looking first at education, the survey reveals that 21% of respondents with no high school diploma own a tablet, with that figure rising all the way to 49% among those with a college degree. As for household income (HHI) level, adoption is at 22% for those with less than $30,000 per year, climbing to 65% among those with HHI of at least $150k.

Other Findings:

  • Tablet ownership is substantially lower among rural (27%) than urban (36%) and suburban (37%) respondents.
  • 24% of Americans aged 16 and up own an e-reader, up from 19% in November 2012. E-reader ownership trends higher among women, whites, 30-49-year-olds, those with a college degree, and those with HHI of at least $75k.
  • An impressive 81% of Asian-Americans aged 16 and older own a smartphone, compared to 55% of the general population.
  • 43% of respondents own either a tablet or an e-reader.

About the Data: The Pew survey obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 6,224 people ages 16 and older living in the United States. Interviews were conducted via landline (n=3,122) and cell phone (n=3,102, including 1,588 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The interviews were administered in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from July 18 to September 30, 20135. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for results based on the complete set of weighted data is ±1.4 percentage points. Results based on the 5,320 internet users have a margin of sampling error of ±1.5 percentage points.

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