Posted June 11, 2013 5:15 pm by with 2 comments

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A third (34%) of American adults ages 18 and older own a tablet computer. A year ago, we were at 18%. That’s a success story right there.

The numbers come from the latest Pew Internet and American Life Project post and they’re even more impressive when you look at them graphically.

pew tablet ownership

Look at that climb! In three years, we went from 3% to 34% and it’s likely that the line will continue on an upward swing for the next few years.

Why is this important to you, the marketer? Because it’s a sign of things to come. We’ve barely figured out how to monetize smartphones and now we have tablets in the mix. The good news is that tablets are actually easier to monetize because of the wider screen and the way we use them. Smartphones are what we turn to when we’re on the go. It’s a quick fix but that means that in most cases, the user doesn’t have time to waste.

The tablet is just the opposite – it’s all about laid back browsing on the couch, in front of the TV. Tablet users have time to watch that video ad or interact with a piece of content. Tablets are going to save our mobile monetization hides.

There are a few other differences to note.


According to Pew, tablet ownership is pretty equal between men and women and folks of different races. Smartphone ownership leans slightly toward black males but it’s still a close call.

Where we see a significant difference is in age. Smartphones are for the young (18-34) but tablet ownership skews toward the fortysomethings. 49% of adults 35-44 own a tablet. Every other age group falls below that with the over 65 crowd coming in last at only 18%.

Tablet owners also tend to have college degrees and higher incomes.

Here are a few other interesting trends:

  • Among parents with minor children living at home, tablet ownership rose from 26% in April 2012 to 50% in May 2013 (an increase of 24 percentage points).
  • Tablet ownership among adults living in households making at least $75,000 per year rose from 34% to 56% (22 percentage points).
  • Tablet ownership among college graduates rose from 28% to 49% (21 percentage points).

The takeaway: If you’re looking to reach middle-aged professionals with your next ad campaign, the tablet is the way to go.

  • Perfect comparison between Tablet and Smartphone, but i will go with the smartphone.

  • Spencer

    Amazing, I must admit I was one who thought that tablets would never take off. I couldn’t see the point of them – I already had my iphone, read printed newspapers and watched tv on a tv. How wrong could I be. I still use the iphone but now after the kids are asleep I read, I watch and I play music – all from one device. Amazing indeed.


    Business Consultant (uk registered pharmacy 1111986)