Tablet users are older, richer and more likely to watch video – study

12 Jun 2012

In just two years since the launch of the iPad, the tablet market has exploded, and ComScore’s TabLens study provides an insight into these users and their consumption.

ComScore’s analysis of US tablet users reveals that one in every four smartphone owners (23.6pc) use tablets, compared to 10.4pc of feature phone owners. Overall, the number of mobile phone subscribers who own a tablet has increased year-on-year from 4.7pc to 16.5pc.

However, smartphone ownership is not the greatest indicator of tablet adoption. Research into the demographic of tablet users shows that almost 40pc come from households earning more than US$100,000 (almost €80,000), which is more than double the figure for any other income. This is a clear reflection of the high price point of these luxury gadgets.

Comparing smartphone owners and tablet owners

Tablet adoption is split almost 50-50 between males and females, but different age brackets reveal more interesting findings.

Tech devices tend to be most popular among the more tech-savvy younger generations, and ComScore’s research predictably shows the highest concentration of users between the ages of 25 and 44 at 45.8pc overall. However, when tablet users are compared to smartphone users, we see they are 28pc more likely to fall in the 65 and older age bracket, and 27pc less likely to be aged 18 to 24.

This shows that older generations are more interested in these devices than smartphones, perhaps because of the larger screen offering greater accessibility. Also, with tablets providing an easy-to-use middle ground between smartphones and desktop or laptop computers, this could also be appealing to this demographic.

ComScore demographic analysis of tablet users

Consuming video content

Research into what these users are actually doing with their tablets shows that watching video on a tablet is more popular than on smaller-screen smartphones. More than half of tablet owners used their device to watch video and/or TV content in April 2012, compared to just 20pc of the smartphone audience.

Tablet users are viewing video content regularly, too, with 9.5pc watching on an almost daily basis and 18.9pc watching at least once a week. What’s more, they’re also willing to pay for video content, as 26.7pc of those who watch video at least once a month on their tablets have paid for the privilege.

It can only be guessed at whether this is a result of the demographic representing users with more disposable income or that users are willing to pay for content when it is delivered to a device optimised for viewing video content.

“Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in history and are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world both on the go and perhaps most notably, in the home,” said Mark Donovan, ComScore SVP of Mobile. “It’s not surprising to see that once consumers get their hands on their first tablet, they are using them for any number of media habits, including TV viewing.”

Image of tablet user via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.