Tablets Are Here to Stay

comScore, Inc. has released new insights on the U.S. tablet market from comScore TabLens™, its forthcoming monthly syndicated service providing insights into tablet ownership and usage.

The report 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 device compared to smartphone users, with 1 in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily.

Tablets Used by 1 in Every 4 Smartphone Owners

In just two years since the launch of the iPad, the first tablet to reach a meaningful market penetration, tablet adoption has exploded. 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.

Tablet Users Older and Towards Upper Income Households

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, 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.  Nearly 3 in 5 tablet users resided in households with income of $75,000 or greater, compared to 1 in every 2 smartphone users.

Demographic Profile: Tablet* and Smartphone Audience
3 month avg. ending Apr. 2012
Total U.S. Tablet Owners and Smartphone Subscribers, Age 13+
Source: comScore TabLens and comScore MobiLens
% Share of Tablet Audience % Share of Smartphone Audience Index of Tablet to Smartphone Audience**
Total Audience 100.0% 100.0% 100
Male 49.2% 51.6% 95
Female 50.8% 48.4% 105
13-17 7.3% 6.5% 112
18-24 12.3% 16.9% 73
25-34 24.4% 25.3% 96
35-44 21.4% 21.2% 101
45-54 17.8% 15.7% 113
55-64 10.1% 9.2% 110
65+ 6.8% 5.3% 128
Household Income:
<$25k 7.4% 11.7% 63
$25k to <$50k 17.7% 19.5% 91
$50k to <$75k 18.9% 19.5% 97
$75k to <$100k 18.3% 15.9% 115
$100k+ 37.7% 33.4% 113

*comScore defines a media tablet as a touchscreen tablet device with a slate form factor, a 7 inch or greater screen size and a data connection, but no voice plan. Single purpose eBook reader devices are excluded from this definition.
**Index = % of Tablet Audience/% of Smartphone Audience x 100; Index of 100 indicates average representation

Tablet Audience Nearly 3x as Likely to Watch Video as Smartphone Users

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. Table users 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 device.

Of those viewing video at least once during the month, 1 in 4 (26.7 percent) paid to watch content