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Tablet Use Soaring, Particularly for Video, comScore FindsBy Jennifer LeClaire
Posted: June 11, 2012 10:23am PDT
Tablets have reached a critical mass in the U.S. -- and have done so quickly. According to comScore, one in every four smartphone owners have used tablets in the past three months.
Tablet users are also nearly three times more likely to watch video on their device compared with smartphone users, with one in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily on their device, comScore says.
"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's senior vice president 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."
Tablets Users Older, More Affluent
Just years after the iPad launched, 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, according to comScore. About 25 percent of smartphone users and 10.4 percent of feature-phone subscribers use tablets.
Demographic analysis of mobile device audiences by comScore indicates that 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, the report also reveals that tablet users skewed noticeably older than smartphone users.
Tablet users also skewed toward upper-income households, which comScore said is likely a function of the high price point of these devices, still considered a luxury good to many consumers. Nearly three in five tablet users resided in households with income of $75,000 or greater, compared with half of smartphone users.
The iPad Factor
According to comScore, not only were tablet users more likely to watch video -- they 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, 26.7 percent paid to watch content, highlighting the tremendous monetization potential this platform represents for content providers.
We caught up with Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, to get his take on the "critical mass" of tablet usage. Although he agrees that tablets have reached a critical mass, he told us there are only two tablets that are selling in large volumes.
The iPad already came with both iTunes support, which has media capabilities and with hundreds of thousands of apps, a lot of which are media oriented. The Kindle Fire is almost exclusively a media tablet. It's designed to consume Amazon services," Greengart said.
"Tablets are easier to hold on your lap when you are watching television than a note book in some ways, and the apps and services seem to be geared toward that type of use case. So we are definitely seeing people streaming Netflix on their tablets. We are seeing people watching movies on their tablets."
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