updated 12:40 am EST, Mon January 23, 2012
Pew shows huge tablet ownership spike in late 2011
Ownership of both tablets and e-readers exploded through the holidays, Pew found on Monday. About 10 percent of Americans owned each in December, but both had surged to 19 percent in January. There was relatively little overlap, as 18 percent owned one or the other before the holiday rush while 29 percent had either an e-reader or a tablet in January.
The spike ended a stagnancy between May and December, where share remained largely in the same range. Pew's study covered nearly 3,000 respondents and isn't completely reflective of the population, but was conducted over the phone and wasn't as skewed towards Internet-savvy users as web polls.
Amazon and Barnes & Noble may have had the most to gain. The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet took advantage of recognition and sub-$250 prices to cater to buyers that had never considered a tablet before. E-readers saw their own price drop, with $99 or less now a benchmark price.
Apple will also have stood to benefit from the holiday run, both through direct sales and through legitimizing the category. It may help explain Microsoft's latest Windows revenue drop. Historically, many of those buying iPads or other tablets made the purchase instead of a Windows notebook, with only a small amount either getting it as a complement or as a substitute for a Mac.