Back in the middle of December 2011, around ten percent of American adults owned a tablet. According to the Pew Research Center, that number nearly doubled by the middle of January, 2012, to nineteen percent. For ereaders, the same percentage increase was seen, from ten to nineteen. Overall, twenty-nine percent of households now have either a tablet or ereader. While the Pew study did not break down the increases by tablet type(android, iPad or other like Amazon Kindle Fire, B & N Nook), industry analysts estimate the Kindle Fire sold 4-5 million units during the holiday season. With a number of low-cost devices appearing on the market, it is becoming increasingly affordable to own a tablet/ereader. Across nearly all demographics, ownership of tablets jumped from single-digit to double-digit percentages from November 2010 to mid-January.
Some aspects of the study may be a little surprising, to some. For instance, the number of men and women who own tablets is now equal. Men had a slight edge back in December 2011, but that has now disappeared. When it comes to ereaders, women have been ahead of men in ownership rates, and that trend has continued. Not so surprising is the gap between lower and higher income households. In those households with over $75,000 annual income, tablet ownership is 36%, while ereaders are in 31% of those same households. The only three exceptions to double-digit growth were with users older than 65, those without a high school diploma and households with an annual income of less than $30,000. The growth from just mid-December 2011 to mid-January 2012 was higher than from the whole year of November 2010 to December 2011, in most instances. Most tablet and e-reader owners are aged 30 to 49, closely followed by those between 18 and 29, while more people aged 50 to 64 own e-readers than tablets. Overall the numbers are a bit staggering, and to imagine actual paper becoming scarce to find in the not too distant future is not all that impossible.