The proliferation of tablets and smartphones continues to grow, as a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) and The Economist Group has revealed that half of all U.S. adults now have a mobile connection to the Internet, be it through a tablet or smartphone.
Tablet Use Booming
The widespread adoption of mobile devices is a large increase on the year, due in no small part to the growing popularity of tablets; 22% of American adults now own a tablet, which is twice as many than last year, while another 3% regularly use a tablet owned by somebody else in their home. Numbers suggest that tablet adoption is showing no signs of slowing down either, as 23% of those who don’t currently have tablets plan on getting one in the next six months.
Unsurprisingly, the increased presence of budget- or lower-priced tablets in the market has been a major contributing factor to the overall growth of tablet owners. In 2011, a whopping 81% of tablet owners had an iPad, whereas that number is now down to 52% in 2012. The other 48% now have Android tablets, and of those Android users, 21% reported owning an Amazon Kindle Fire, one of the most popular budget tablets on the market.
The survey was conducted in the context of news consumption, and to see how many mobile Internet users used their device (or devices) to get the news. Of the 50% of the U.S. population that owns either a tablet or smartphone, 66% of them get the news through their device.
The news consumption on these devices has the potential to create a larger consumer base and perhaps even increase purchases, with 49% of tablet news users “sometimes or often” noticing ads when getting news on their mobile device. Of those users, approximately 15% click on the ads, while 7% actually buy something; while still low, these figures reportedly beat out other digital click-through rates, with a recent study from Ad Age finding that click-through rates on browser-based display ads are less than 1%.
Results from the PEJ/Economist survey also found that the introduction of new devices and formats is driving users to simply adopt more than one mobile device, rather than just upgrading old technology. This creates a “multi-platform” news consumer, as PEJ calls it, with more than half (54%) of tablet news users also getting their news on a smartphone.