Tablets Now Owned By 1 in 4 Smartphone Users: Comscore

Tablets are now owned by nearly 24 percent of smartphone users, up from less than 10 percent a year ago. Tablet owners are also more frequent and "habitual" viewers of video, as wireless carriers are certainly well aware.

Tablets are now used by one in four smartphone owners, Comscore reported June 8, putting a finer point on the industry€™s efforts to break into a market heavily dominated by the Apple iPad.

While in the three months leading up to April 2011 Comscore found 9.7 percent of smartphone users to also use a tablet, in the same time frame this year, that figure rose to nearly 24 percent of smartphone owners. Nearly 17 percent of all mobile phone owners now use a tablet, compared with nearly 5 percent a year ago.

Comscore additionally found tablet users to be three times more likely than smartphone users to watch video content, with one in 10 tablet users watching videos almost daily on their devices. They were not only more likely to watch video, said the report, but to do so €œhabitually.€

€œTablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in history and are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world, both on the go and perhaps mostly notably, in the home,€ Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of Mobile said in a statement.

€œIt€™s not surprising to see that once consumers get their hands on their first tablets, they are using them for any number of media habits, including TV viewing,€ Donovan added.

It€™s not surprising, either, that wireless carriers should be moving toward data plan models that allow users to connect multiple devices on an account, instead of requiring that each have its own€”a requirement that has contributed to a good number of tablet owners choosing WiFi connections and so cutting out the carriers.

Given the pricing of data plans for tablets, as well as the fact that carriers don€™t subsidize them the way they do smartphones, it€™s also unsurprising to see tablet ownership skew upward with age.

Comscore found 24.4 percent of those 25 to 34 years old to have tablets, and 21.4 percent of those 35 to 44 years old to have them, though only 12.3 percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds€”a demographic less likely to have the disposable income of their older cohorts€”to be tablet owners.

Indeed, by household income, the more money households made, nearly the more likely they were to have tablets. Tablets were owned by 17.7 percent of those making between $25,000 and $50,000; 18.9 percent of those making between $50,000 and $75,000, 18.3 percent of those making between $75,000 and $100,000, and 37.7 percent of those earning more than $100,000.

Apple, which reinvented the tablet market with the 2010 launch of the first iPad, shipped 11.8 million units during the first quarter of 2012, giving it a 68 percent share of a market that overall shipped 17.4 million units, according to research firm IDC.

IHS iSuppli expects 2012 to finish with shipments of 126.6 million tablets€”an 85 percent increase over the 68.4 million units of 2011. By 2016, the firm expects that figure to climb to 360.4 million units. Apple is expected to continue to dominate through that time, with Android-running machines, such as those from Samsung and Amazon, gaining some ground, along with tablets running Microsoft€™s Windows 8.