Who Are Today’s Tablet Users and Why Have They Become So Important?

Who Are Today's Tablet Users and Why Have They Become So Important?Are you one of the millions who did not know, a mere three years ago, the impact that tablet computers were destined to have on the entire computing world? If you fit into this category, then you are in for yet another unexpected technological change that is being introduced by Microsoft. This change was introduced by Microsoft this past week and broke an assumed foundation of its policy when it announced its intention to produce its own tablet computers. It is believed that Microsoft woke up to the realization that its very existence was at stake and that the company needed to take the bull by the horns. However, since it is of little concern to most consumers if the computer giant survives, only time will tell if its new strategy will be successful and if its Windows 8 OS will march to victory. That brings us to the question as to who are today’s tablet users. A recent (June 2012) in-depth study from the folks at Online Publishers Association, in conjunction with Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., reports which consumers have chosen to use tablets over conventional computers, which tablets that they have chosen, and how they use the new devices.

Who Are Today’s Tablet Users?

  • Today’s tablet users are fairly balanced between men and women. Men 49% and women 51%.
  • The basic age group for tablet users peaks between 24- and 34-year-olds.
  • Most users boast a household income in the $50k or higher range.
  • It is estimated that 31% of the Internet population, aged from 8 to 64 years old, use a tablet.

From the material collected throughout their study, the researchers reported that their general consensus was that 58% of tablet users were satisfied with their tablet computers. Based on these findings stating that tablet users are expected to grow to 117 million by the year 2013, it is understandable why Microsoft sees tablets as a must have if it is to remain one of the leaders in the marketplace. With that thought in mind and given the uncertainty of its success, it is also easy to rationalize its decision to limit access to its new Windows 8 operating system, which is specifically designed for tablet users. In its news brief this week, Microsoft also gave us our first glimpse of its new branded tablet, called Surface. Basically, it appears that this tablet is quite similar to the iPad with the exception that its cover is actually a keypad that the consumer can opt to use for typing if so desired.

What Tablets Do Tablet Users Prefer?

The easy answer here with no surprises: The report clearly shows Apple continuing to dominate in the tablet market place with its ever popular iPad tablet computers.

Who Are Today's Tablet Users and Why Have They Become So Important?

What I found surprising in the above report was how well the Amazon Kindle Fire represented itself. Recently, some websites have reported that, due to weak sales, the Amazon Kindle Fire was sliding into oblivion. According to this report, however, it ranks the highest in the Android class of tablets; users must continue to have some type of respect for the pint-sized tablet. Another factor in regards to Microsoft’s success or failure will be determined by how well Google’s introduction of its Nexus tablet, being built by Asus, is received by the consumer market. I would venture a guess that, when Google makes the announcement next week regarding the expected release date and cost for its new tablet, Android numbers will surge. However, like many consumers, I will be looking at price. If Google is able to price the Nexus tablet in the $200 range or below, sales should be brisk. If it is above that, it may find itself priced out of the market.

What Are Tablets Being Used For?

Below are listed the most common reasons ranked — from most important to least important — that consumers provided for using their tablet computer.

  • To access content and information.
  • To surf the Internet.
  • To check for email messages.
  • To play games.
  • To gain access to social networks.
  • To listen to music.
  • To read books.
  • To buy stuff.

After reading this list, I find that I could move any or all of these items to the top of the list since I use my tablet (Amazon Kindle Fire) to access each of these categories. Another thing I appreciate about my tablet is the ability to multitask while using it. I know that my wife and I sit down of an evening, tablets in hand, to watch TV. I have my Fire and my wife has her iPad, however, despite the report’s findings, I am reluctant to call this multi-tasking since today’s TV programs require very little focus when watching and one can surf, email, or read Facebook entries with ease.

Who Are Today's Tablet Users and Why Have They Become So Important?

I would also venture a guess that many of my fellow Gnomies actually function while juggling three screens or more. This multitasking can include watching TV, using their tablet, and/or managing a PC plus a smartphone all at once. If you fall into one of these categories, let me welcome you into the realm of the Super Geek!

Some of the Other Interesting Facts About Tablet Users

  • Tablet users spent, on average, approximately $359 for products during the past 12 months.
  • Tablet users heavily research products and services before buying.
  • Tablet users prefer free apps with ads instead of paying for apps.
  • iTunes and Amazon are the preferred sources used for purchases.
  • The average time spent on the tablet varies, but is usually spread out over the course of a day and amounts to a total of approximately 14 hours a week.
  • Consumers spend about $2.6 billion a year on apps for their tablets.

So there you have it. A story of us, our tablets, and how we use them to entertain ourselves. Do you have any tablet experiences that you would like to share with us? Please feel free to comment.

Download your copy of the full OPA report: A Portrait of Todays Tablet User Wave II

Source: OPA press release

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by citrixonline

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • Milos

    I recently bought an iPad 3rd gen just to try the tablet experience. Contrary to what I expected, the iPad has become my main web browsing and media constumption device. It is so compfortable to carry around and such an intimate experience that I have ended up using it for buying stuff, editing documents from work, managing my bank account, etc. My pc and macbook pro are gathering dust now.

  • Adam Smith

    Thank you for such an interesting and informative article !
    It is quite interesting to see that the tablet market is larger than previously realised
    We tend to underestimate that possibly the majority of computer users basically use their computer for media consumption, and are not power users
    However for producers of content, the desktop will always be the central hub for creation
    Look at my list of general activities, and why the desktop PC will never die
    I often need to multitask, performing many of the following at the same time (thus need for several USB ports or at the very least a USB hub connected to the ocmputer)
    There are my daily needs as a media creator:
    1)Use of a mouse – invaluable for selecting text – eg webpages, documents, images
    2)Attachment to a physical keyboard
    3)USB 3.0 capable
    4)Attachment to external speakers
    5)Attachment to printer
    6)Attachment to scanner
    7)Attachment to separate document scanner
    8)Attachment to external hard drives
    9)Creating audio files with microphone
    10)Use of a Powerful voice recognition software
    11)Attachment to external microphone
    12)Office (Word/Powerpoint/Excel/Access), and Photoshop
    13)Use of many Microsoft Office macros
    14)Downloading music/movies/software/ebooks onto a local hard drive with capacity >1 TB
    15)Ability to multitask a minimum of 7 programs and 5 webpages
    16)Quick file searching
    17)Connect to cellphone to transfer across photos and other data
    Im sure these is a realatively common requirements for those in industry or elsewhere that produce content for a living
    To such people a tablet is mearly an expensive internet browser/email reader, media player and EReader :s

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      The desktop PC will die.

      • Adam Smith

        Im a professional in healthcare, and most of my colleagues value tablets, but they cant run industrial strength database software or medical information software (yet !) on them, and so none of them use tablets at work (yet !). Waiting for the ability to run more sophisticated software first. I see colleagues using laptops still at present. My point is that running a scaled down operating system on a tablet is too limiting.
        Chris, you may be right about the desktop PC, it may just hold a niche market – for content creators like myself who do rely on a number of applications and external peripherals, all at once

  • johnkooz

    loved the graphs in this article. I am a “Other Android” category person haha.

  • http://validateyourlife.com/ John Thomas Kooz

    loved the graphs in this article. I am a “Other Android” category person haha.

  • johnkooz

    Maybe I’m idiotically reading it but , ummm don’t’ the numbers on the graphs NOT add up to 100???

  • Curtis Coburn

    I love my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. I am on vacation now, and I have been watching a lot of movies and TV shows on Netflix on my Tablet. Sense my 2007 MacBook is not good for watching movies on it due to hardware, I watch Netflix on my Tablet. For the price, I think it was a great buy. However, I would like to have had maybe a micro HDMI port so I can connect it to my LG 42 in TV, without buying an adaptor. Any hoot, it’s still great to watch TV on it. I can watch about 5 1/2 hours on it before I get to 10% battery then I have to charge it. Battery on that tablet is great.

  • http://twitter.com/umbrarchist umbrarchist

    The Google Nexus 7 is out (almost). At least we officially know what it is.

    NO SD CARD SLOT!!! That sucks. But it has a USB port. A 32 gig USB stick is less than $30. So how conveniently does Jelly Bean handle the USB. Plus a folding USB keyboard could be useful.

    So do we finally have an expensive cyber-device the schools can standardize education on?

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