Tablet and e-book reader ownership nearly doubled during the holidays

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Tablet ownership in the US nearly doubled during the 2011 holiday season from 10 percent to 19 percent between mid-December and early January, according to a new report from Pew Internet. E-book readers also experienced the same growth percentage over an identical time period.

The total percentage of American adults owning one of these digital devices jumped from 18 percent to 29 percent in January. These findings are particularly interesting as there wasn’t much growth in the tablet and e-reader industry during the summer prior to the holiday buying season.

Perhaps the biggest catalyst for change was the introduction of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet. These new devices significantly undercut the average price of a media tablet to as low as $199, making them much more affordable than offerings from the competition. New versions of the Kindle and Nook e-readers dropped below $100.

Looking at the results a bit closer reveals that tablets are most popular with consumers between the ages of 30 and 49 as well as college graduates and individuals earning more than $75,000 per year. Race / ethnicity and gender played very little role in determining tablet ownership. E-reader owners follow the exact same trends as tablet buyers with the exception of gender: more females buy them than males.

Pre-holiday data for this study was collected from 2,986 Americans age 16 and older between November 16 and December 20, 2011. Post-holiday stats come from the combined results of two studies – one conducted from January 5 through January 8, 2012 of 1,000 adults over the age of 18 and another from January 12 through January 15 of 1,008 adults.

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