E-Reader Growth Outpaces Tablets

July 7, 2011

pew-e-reader-ownership-july-2011.JPGThe share of adults in the US who own an e-book reader doubled to 12% in May 2011 from 6% in November 2010, according to data from the Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project. This is the first time since the Pew Internet Project began measuring e-reader use in April 2009 that ownership of this device has reached double digits among US adults.

8% of Adults Own Tablets

Meanwhile, Pew data shows 8% of US adults owned a tablet computer in May 2011. This is roughly the same percentage of adults who reported owning this kind of device in January 2011 (7%), and represents 60% growth in ownership since November 2010

Hispanics, Young, Educated, Wealthy Most Likely to Own E-readers

pew-ereader-who-owns-july-2011.JPGHispanic adults, adults younger than age 65, college graduates and those living in households with incomes of at least $75,000 are most likely to own e-book readers. Parents are also more likely than non-parents to own these devices.

Some demographic differences have only recently emerged. For instance, in November 2010, parents and non-parents were equally likely to own e-readers, yet in the past six months ownership of these devices among parents has grown more rapidly than it has among-non-parents. Similarly, e-reader ownership grew at a faster pace among Hispanic adults in that time period than it did among white or African-American adults. Moreover, ownership among adults ages 18-49 grew more rapidly than any other age group.

Hispanics, Wealthy Increase Tablet Ownership

pew-tablet-who-owns-july-2011.JPGBetween November 2010 and May 2011, the largest increases in tablet ownership have been among men when compared with women; Hispanic adults when compared with white and African-American adults; adults 18-29; those with some college or college degrees; and those reporting household incomes of $30,000 or more. Overall, the highest rates of tablet ownership are among Hispanic adults and those with household incomes of at least $75,000 annually.

E-reader, Tablet Ownership Well Behind Other Devices

pew-e-reader-comparison-july-2011.JPGDespite growth of 60-100% in a six-month timespan, both e-book reader and tablet computer adoption levels among US adults are still well below that of other tech devices that have been on the market longer. Cell phones are far and away the most popular digital device among US adults today, with 83% ownership, followed by desktop (57%) and laptop (56%) computers, DVRs (52%), and MP3 players (44%).

Pew observes notable overlap in e-reader and tablet computer ownership, as 3% of US adults own both devices. Nine percent own an e-book reader but not a tablet, while 5% own a tablet computer but not an e-reader.

Laptops Catch Up to Desktops

In what Pew says further confirms an overall trend toward adoption of mobile devices, this survey marks the first time that Pew has recorded laptop computers being as popular as desktop computers among US adults. In November 2010, desktop ownership outpaced laptop ownership 61% to 53%. Pew analysis indicates this changing pattern is the result of both a steady decline in the popularity of desktops and a steady increase in the popularity of laptops. Laptops have already overtaken desktops in popularity among adults younger than 30, and appear poised to do the same among older adults.

Nielsen: Tablets Go with TV

Seventy percent of tablet owners use their devices while watching TV, according to Q1 2011 data from The Nielsen Company. Another 57% use them while lying in bed. Other relatively popular multitasking uses of tablets include using them with friends/family (44%), while waiting for something (42%) and other (35%). There is then a significant drop in multitasking usage for activities such as while in the bathroom (25%) and attending a meeting or class (24%).

About the Data: These findings come from a survey conducted from April 26-May 22 among 2,277 adults ages 18 and older, including surveys in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones.

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