updated 01:20 pm EDT, Thu August 25, 2011
Nielsen breaks down tablet and e-reader owners
A new Nielsen study Thursday revealed that tablet and e-reader ownership had changed rapidly in just the last year. Where about 62 percent of owners of iPads and other tablets were under 34 in summer 2010, only 46 percent of them were that age by the start of this summer. Similarly, where just 10 percent were over 55 a year ago, that number had surged to 19 percent by mid-2011.
Researchers didn't break down age for e-book reader owners but did notice a large shift in gender. Just 46 percent of women had a Kindle, Nook, or other dedicated e-reader a year ago; 61 percent had one now. Smartphone ownership had remained almost perfectly equal over the same period, and tablets were still a primarily masculine pursuit with 57 percent of owners being men.
The study didn't attempt to explain the gaps. Typically, however, early technology adopters are known to be young men with little to no family to support. Older audiences often move in once a device is more established or when finances aren't an issue.
E-reader adoption isn't as clear but may follow several attempts to shrink down and lower the price of e-readers to where they might more closely match with stereotypical preferences for smaller devices and reading. With men a disproportionately higher group of the tablet buyers, they may also be buying tablets in place of e-readers.