More Americans Own Tablets Pew Study
October 18, 2013

As Tablet and E-Reader Market Continues To Grow, Apple Loses Edge

Peter Suciu for – Your Universe Online

According to a survey conducted by Pew, the number of Americans aged 16 and older who own a tablet device has grown to 35 percent, while the share who have e-reading devices such as the Kindle or Nook has increased to 24 percent.

Overall, the number of people with a tablet or an e-book reader over the age of 16 now stands at 43 percent. That's up from just 25 percent last year. According to the survey, which was conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, those individuals in households earning more than $75,000 or more account for 25 percent of tablet ownership. This is up from 19 percent last year, and the survey also found that 38 percent of those upper-income households had an e-reader.

The study found it was fairly even across demographics for men and women – with 34 percent of men saying they owned a tablet device, compared to 36 percent of women. By ethnicity, some 35 percent of white non-Hispanics owned a tablet device compared to 29 percent for black non-Hispanics, 37 percent for Hispanics and 50 percent for Asian-Americans.

The 16-17 year olds were the highest age group, with 46 percent of those under 18 saying they owned a table, with 37 percent of 18-29 year olds, 44 percent of 30-49 year olds, 31 percent of 50-64 year olds and just 18 percent in the over 65 demographic. The survey found 49 percent of college educated respondents said they owned a tablet, compared to 36 percent of those with some college, 28 percent that were high school graduates and 21 percent who had no high school diploma.

However, these early indicators shouldn’t be seen a predictor for tablet and e-reader use going forward.

“Typically the market share in the very early stages don't have much to do with lasting market share,” telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan told redOrbit.

Apple, which introduced its iPad in early 2010, originally enjoyed the lion’s share of the tablet/e-reader market, but has seen that lead erode in recent years. CNN Money reported this week that iPad sales fell to $6.3 billion – a 27 percent drop over last year – while tablet revenue jumped 40 percent and 22 percent in the prior two quarters. Apple could be slowly squeezed out of a market it created.

According to research firm IDC, Apple’s global tablet market share currently stands at 32 percent, down from 60 percent just a year ago. This comes as more players, including Samsung, Amazon and Google continue to roll out competing devices.

“Just consider Palm smartphones,” added Kagan. “Palm was (one of) the first in the smartphone market. Then Blackberry won their lead and kept it for more than a decade. Then Apple took the lead. Then Google did. So this happens all the time.

“Companies ride a wave up, then it always crests, then they ride it back down again,” he added. “The secret is to keep developing the next wave to ride.”

The question is how fast the tablet market can continue to grow?

“I think the market will continue to grow, but at a lower pace,” said Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics. “A key driver for this is the aging technophile population as one of the major motivators of the age 40-plus segment to get an e-reader is their waning eyesight and the ability of e-readers to magnify the print.

“The convenience of being able to continue to read a book without glasses is significant,” Entner told redOrbit.