Tablet Users to Nearly Double by Early Next Year, According to Study

12% of U.S. Web Users Owns or Uses a Tablet Like the Apple iPad

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iPad2 Credit: Apple

Americans with tablets such as the Apple iPad remain a distinct minority among U.S. internet users, a new study said today, but they're growing quickly and very often using their tablets to pay for digital content.

Some 28 million U.S. web users between 8 and 64 years old own or use tablets -- 12% of the U.S. "internet population" in that age range -- according to the study from the Online Publishers Association and Frank N. Magid Associates. And their ranks will grow to 54 million, 23% of the U.S. internet population from 8 to 64, by early next year, the study found.

While the desktop and laptop internet has taught us to expect free content, moreover, we're buying tablet content in the form of apps, the study confirmed.

"Seventy-nine percent of app downloaders paid for content in the last year, which provides a great opportunity for publishers to generate new revenue streams," Pam Horan, president of the OPA, said in a statement accompanying the research results.

But they don't want to do all their content shopping in app stores like Apple's, according to the study. "The study also revealed that consumers prefer content bundling and payment options to buy content through a variety of sources including direct from publishers," Ms. Horan added, "rather than only through app retail stores."

That's good news for app publishers from Time Inc. to The New York Times to Netflix, which owe Apple a 30% cut of the revenue when sales take place in the App Store or within apps themselves. When consumers buy app content directly from a publisher, Apple doesn't get a slice.

On average, those who have downloaded apps on tablets have spent $53 on apps in the last year.

The results derive from a nationally representative online survey of 2,482 people between 8 and 64 years old, fielded from April 15-20, according to the OPA and Frank N. Magid Associates. Nearly 83% of the respondents were between the ages of 18 and 64.

In other findings:

  • 93% of tablet users have ever downloaded apps.
  • 26% of all apps downloaded are paid.
  • 46% of respondents said they found advertising within newspaper and magazine tablet apps relevant, unique and interesting.
  • Tablet users skew male (60%) and 18 to 34 years old (48%).
  • 46% of the respondents who own or use a tablet said they used the original iPad, compared to 21% for the iPad 2, 14% for the Samsung Galaxy, 11% for the Dell Streak, 9% for the HP Slate, 9% for the Archos 7 Home and 7% for the Sony Dash. Percentages don't total 100% because some respondents own or use more than one kind of tablet.
  • More respondents (18%) plan to buy a tablet in the next 12 months than plan to buy an e-reader (14%).
  • Tablet users come from higher income households; 43% have household income above $50,000.
  • 80% of tablet users who watch video watch user-generated video like that found on YouTube; 69% watch music videos; 56% watch full-length TV; 55% watch full-length movies.
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