Skip to navigationSkip to content

Tablets are for middle-aged people, smartphones are for 20-somethings, says Pew

Published This article is more than 2 years old.
If you’re not viewing this on a tablet, it’s time to get with the revolution.

Americans are crazy for tablets, say the results of Pew Internet & American Life project’s just-released annual survey of tablet PC ownership. There aren’t many boldface surprises in this report, but the details are interesting. For example, unlike smart phones, which are mostly popular with young people, people who own tablets like the iPad and Google’s Nexus 10 tend to be age 35-44, which means that companies aiming their mobile strategy at that demographic should focus on large screen sizes.

  • The proportion of US adults 18 and over who own a tablet PC nearly doubled in the past year, from 18% to 34%.
  • Rich Americans are far more likely to own a tablet than the less affluent. Of those with household income greater than $75,000 a year, 56% own a tablet. People with a college degree are also tablet lovers: Nearly half of college graduates own a tablet (49%).
  • Adults in their late thirties and early forties have the highest rates of tablet ownership, whereas smartphones are most popular with younger adults ages 18-34, says Pew. Indeed, tablet ownership rates among adults age 35-44 is identical to tablet ownership rates among college graduates (49%).
  • Tablet preferences don’t cut along lines of gender, race or ethnicity: There are no “statistically significant” differences in tablet ownership rates between men and women, or across racial or ethnic groups. (That said, the women surveyed had a slightly higher tablet ownership rate than men: 35% of them own tablets, compared to 32% of men.)
  • 50% of parents with children living at home own tablets, compared to 27% of non-parents. A year ago, only 26% of parents owned tablets.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.