Tablets Now Reportedly in a Majority of US Households

April 28, 2015

Nielsen-Top-US-Markets-by-Tablet-Penetration-Apr2015Tablet penetration has reached 51% of US households as of February, up 13% points year-over-year, reports Nielsen [download page] in a recent study. Tablet penetration stood at 50% or higher in 20 local markets, led by Atlanta (62%) and San Francisco (61%), with Phoenix (+23% points) and Miami (+19% points) registering as the markets with the largest year-over-year gains.

Beyond Atlanta and San Francisco, other markets with high tablet penetration include:

  • Washington, DC (59%);
  • Baltimore (58%); and
  • Boston (56%).

The study also reports that smartphone penetration reached 78% of American mobile subscribers aged 13 and older in February, a figure slightly higher than comScore’s recent tally of 76.6%, although that covered the 3-month period ending in February, rather than just February. The 5 markets with the highest rates of smartphone penetration in February, per Nielsen, were: Dallas (88%); Houston (85%); Baltimore; Charlotte; and Denver (each at 84%).


Smartphone penetration climbed by 8% points year-over-year, led by Seattle (+15% points), Baltimore (+14% points) and Charlotte (+12% points). Consistent with previous research from Pew, the Nielsen data indicates that smartphone penetration is higher among Hispanics (82%) and African-Americans (83%).

Turning to smart TVs, which are now owned by 16% of households, the report notes that Houston, Seattle, San Francisco and New York lead the way, each with a penetration rate of 21% of households.

Finally, some 42% of US households in February had access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus, per the report, a figure unchanged from November 2014. Subscription video-on-demand penetration is now in at least half of households in Washington, DC (52%), San Francisco (52%), Seattle (50%) and Portland (50%), though the only change from November is a single-point gain in Portland.

Netflix (38%, up 2 points from November) remains the SVOD market leader by household penetration and continues to add subscribers apace. It’s followed by Amazon (14%, up a point from November) and Hulu Plus (7%, also up a point).

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