U.S. Tablet Ownership Nearly Doubles over Holiday Season

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According to new survey data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (via VentureBeat), the share of U.S. adults owning a tablet device nearly doubled during the most recent holiday season, moving from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January. While the introduction of Amazon's Kindle Fire certainly played a significant role in the tablet growth, the news still bodes well for Apple's iPad performance during the quarter.
These findings are striking because they come after a period from mid-2011 into the autumn in which there was not much change in the ownership of tablets and e-book readers. However, as the holiday gift-giving season approached the marketplace for both devices dramatically shifted. In the tablet world, Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble's Nook Tablet were introduced at considerably cheaper prices than other tablets.
Apple's iPad dominated tablet sales following its early 2010 debut as competitors struggled to find traction in the marketplace, but the Kindle Fire has been seen as perhaps the best-equipped product to take on the iPad given its much lower pricing ($199) and its integration with Amazon's significant services and large customer base. But while the Kindle Fire is selling well according to estimates, its effect on iPad sales has been the subject of considerable debate given the significant differences in hardware and target markets between the two devices.


Apple is of course rumored to be introducing the iPad 3 in the coming months, amid reports that it will continue to offer the iPad 2 at a lower entry-level price. Even so, Apple will be unlikely to match or closely approach the Kindle Fire's $199 pricing given the iPad's larger size and differences in the two companies' approaches to the tablet market. Apple focuses on profitability for its hardware products with content providing a supporting role at much smaller margins, while Amazon is willing to sell hardware essentially at cost in order to support profitability in its massive shopping and content offerings.

Apple is also pushing for greater adoption of the iPad in the education market with its just-launched iBooks Textbooks initiative. Envisioning a future in which students carry all of their textbooks in the form of interactive iBookstore downloads on iPads, the company is seeking to drive innovation and engagement in education while making the iPad the tablet of choice for students of all ages.

Article Link: U.S. Tablet Ownership Nearly Doubles over Holiday Season
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
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Ownership went down from May to August foe e-readers?
It looks like devices like the KF and Nook tablet are not considered e-readers, so some people might be shedding their Kindles, etc, but much more likely just sampling error / uncertainty. The stated uncertainty is +/- 2.4%, so on the low side the May number could actually have been more like 10% and the August number >11%. That is, with statistical uncertainty added, the numbers are pretty equivalent May and August.
 

carlgo

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Dec 29, 2006
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Almost 1 in 5 American adults has a tablet? And this share doubled in a couple of months? Really? That's amazing, and kind of hard to believe.
 

Joshwawilson

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2011
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Missouri
I wonder how much tablet ownership will jump with the release of iPad 3, especially if it coincides with the start of college next semester and has a good education promotion.
 

Ryth

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Apr 21, 2011
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Comparing the Kindle Fire to the iPad is like comparing a bicycle to a car.

Sure they are both modes of transportation to get you places but the car offers way more things then the bike can ever offer.
 

Small White Car

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Aug 29, 2006
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I have actually seen this change happen before my eyes. I ride a commuter train to work every day and, unlike a subway, it has larger seats and fewer stops. Thus people tend to really settle in and get out larger electronics during the ride.

In my (very) rough estimation, here's the change I've seen over the last 5 months:

Sept. 2011
Smartphones: 35%
Tablets 5%
Laptops 10%
Print Media or sleeping 50%

Jan. 2012
Smartphones: 35%
Tablets 15%
Laptops 5%
Print Media or sleeping 45%

Most of this change really has been in the last month.
 

BeardedOrc

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Oct 19, 2011
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But not everybody needs a car. Sometimes a bike is more suited to your needs.
 

KevinC867

macrumors 6502a
Jun 8, 2007
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tablet ownership jumped

everyone bought tablets and no ereaders. the total ownership went up but ereaders stayed the same percentage
No. The chart's title says it shows "% of adults who own tablet computers and e-book readers". The number of [US] adults didn't change much during that period. If there were 200 million adults, this chart tells us that 24 million of them owned e-book readers on 5/11 and only 18 million owned them on 8/11. Hard to believe. Must be due to errors in the study. (Statistical or otherwise.)
 

Derekuda

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I disagree about apple not being able to match kindles pricing. Apple has assloads of cash, and if they really wanted to sell the iPad at cost or even at a slight loss, they would still make up the money in apps just like amazon does with it's prime subscriptions.
 

ThunderSkunk

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Dec 31, 2007
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If Apple had their annual iPad launch pre-holiday, instead of just post-holiday, they would have been able to offer the iPad3 at top dollar, and a less expensive iPad2 to compete closer to Amazons Kindle, scooping up even more of the pie.
 

Ryth

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But not everybody needs a car. Sometimes a bike is more suited to your needs.
Exactly...so why are they comparing a bicycle to a car then in these comparisons with the Kindle Fire and iPad. The Fire can't come close to doing what the iPad2 does in terms of quality, speed, ability, etc.
 

Consultant

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Jun 27, 2007
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It's funny that they still think there's a "tablet" market when all evidence shows otherwise.
 

Thunderhawks

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I disagree about apple not being able to match kindles pricing. Apple has assloads of cash, and if they really wanted to sell the iPad at cost or even at a slight loss, they would still make up the money in apps just like amazon does with it's prime subscriptions.
And just how do you think they came up with that cash?
By selling products slightly under cost and making it up in volume?:)
 

BC2009

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Jul 1, 2009
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It's funny that they still think there's a "tablet" market when all evidence shows otherwise.
Well, some are now trying to create the "non-iPad" tablet market because it is otherwise very boring to talk about tablets. See this report from Chitika.

You will notice that the Chart is "per 100 iPad Web impressions". That's because if you actually put in a bar for the iPad the other four listed there would be miniscule. In fact, aside from the iPad, the overall "tablet market" has not changed much from a sales perspective in years. If Apple was not succeeding in this space, no other manufacturer would be bothering because they would be losing so much money.

The next test for the tablet market will likely be Windows 8 tablets. While ICS is better than Honeycomb, many consumers have already been burned by the early Gingerbread and Honeycomb tablets not meeting their expectations. Android needs some serious marketing around ICS and the forth-coming Transformer Prime with ICS and high-resolution display has the best shot as a differentiating Google-endorced Android tablet. On the Windows 8 side they are essentially banking on the existing Windows-PC base of users wanting a compatible tablet or a tablet with a "trusted" Windows name. Thus far the "Windows" name is not helping Windows Phone 7, which many argue should have been named "Metro Phone". If Windows 8 tablets succeed though, they should drive Windows Phone sales and that will probably hurt Android the most since Apple users have such a high degree of customer satisfaction.

As far as the Fire goes, it is like comparing a Bicycle to a Motorcycle. It does not do half of what other tablets do, but it also costs half as much (unless you got an HP Touch Pad for $99). Amazon does not care about Web impressions though -- they care about how many sales get driven from Fire tablets to Amazon.com's website for digital downloads or hard goods.

Apple, Google, and Amazon all have very different ways of measuring success.
 

JGowan

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Jan 29, 2003
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Yes, but...

Comparing the Kindle Fire to the iPad is like comparing a bicycle to a car.

Sure they are both modes of transportation to get you places but the car offers way more things then the bike can ever offer.
The trend I have personally seen is Parents buying the iPad for themselves but buying the Kindle Fire for their child. Being smaller, the Fire is easier to hold in the child's hands. The screen size with it's smaller finger target is no problem for a child's digits. The price is much easier to justify for such sophisticated technology.

I talked to one such parent recently and he explained that while he thinks the iPad is superior in just about every way, he couldn't even consider another $500 purchase for a Christmas gift for an 8-year old. The $199 was easier to swallow. Apps are cheap for the Fire, too. And he liked the fact that, because he is an Amazon Prime member, his son can stream movies and TV shows over wi-fi for free with the annual plan from Amazon.

Is it as fluid as an iPad? No. There are great limitations when comparing the two. However, the Fire software will continue to improve and become a better and better value, especially at the $199 price point.

-------------

Personally, I think Apple truly should put out a smaller cheaper version for just such users. It's better than the person not having anything at all OR going to the competition. Also, I'd buy one and I already the iPad. An iOS device somewhere between an iPad and an iPhone would greatly increase the chance that I would carry it more often than I currently carry my iPad out of doors.
 

Derekuda

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Thunderhawks said:
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I disagree about apple not being able to match kindles pricing. Apple has assloads of cash, and if they really wanted to sell the iPad at cost or even at a slight loss, they would still make up the money in apps just like amazon does with it's prime subscriptions.
And just how do you think they came up with that cash?
By selling products slightly under cost and making it up in volume?:)
I'm just saying, if apple wanted to grab all that market share the kindle is stealing, they could very easily price match. It's not an opportunity most company's can afford even if they wanted to.
 

faroZ06

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I disagree about apple not being able to match kindles pricing. Apple has assloads of cash, and if they really wanted to sell the iPad at cost or even at a slight loss, they would still make up the money in apps just like amazon does with it's prime subscriptions.
That is illegal. Selling stuff at a loss to kill competitors is against capitalism regulations. It's called "dumping".