Who Are Today's Tablet Users and Why Have They Become So Important?Are you one of the millions who did not know, a mere three years ago, the impact that tablet computers were destined to have on the entire computing world? If you fit into this category, then you are in for yet another unexpected technological change that is being introduced by Microsoft. This change was introduced by Microsoft this past week and broke an assumed foundation of its policy when it announced its intention to produce its own tablet computers. It is believed that Microsoft woke up to the realization that its very existence was at stake and that the company needed to take the bull by the horns. However, since it is of little concern to most consumers if the computer giant survives, only time will tell if its new strategy will be successful and if its Windows 8 OS will march to victory. That brings us to the question as to who are today’s tablet users. A recent (June 2012) in-depth study from the folks at Online Publishers Association, in conjunction with Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., reports which consumers have chosen to use tablets over conventional computers, which tablets that they have chosen, and how they use the new devices.

Who Are Today’s Tablet Users?

  • Today’s tablet users are fairly balanced between men and women. Men 49% and women 51%.
  • The basic age group for tablet users peaks between 24- and 34-year-olds.
  • Most users boast a household income in the $50k or higher range.
  • It is estimated that 31% of the Internet population, aged from 8 to 64 years old, use a tablet.

From the material collected throughout their study, the researchers reported that their general consensus was that 58% of tablet users were satisfied with their tablet computers. Based on these findings stating that tablet users are expected to grow to 117 million by the year 2013, it is understandable why Microsoft sees tablets as a must have if it is to remain one of the leaders in the marketplace. With that thought in mind and given the uncertainty of its success, it is also easy to rationalize its decision to limit access to its new Windows 8 operating system, which is specifically designed for tablet users. In its news brief this week, Microsoft also gave us our first glimpse of its new branded tablet, called Surface. Basically, it appears that this tablet is quite similar to the iPad with the exception that its cover is actually a keypad that the consumer can opt to use for typing if so desired.

What Tablets Do Tablet Users Prefer?

The easy answer here with no surprises: The report clearly shows Apple continuing to dominate in the tablet market place with its ever popular iPad tablet computers.

Who Are Today's Tablet Users and Why Have They Become So Important?

What I found surprising in the above report was how well the Amazon Kindle Fire represented itself. Recently, some websites have reported that, due to weak sales, the Amazon Kindle Fire was sliding into oblivion. According to this report, however, it ranks the highest in the Android class of tablets; users must continue to have some type of respect for the pint-sized tablet. Another factor in regards to Microsoft’s success or failure will be determined by how well Google’s introduction of its Nexus tablet, being built by Asus, is received by the consumer market. I would venture a guess that, when Google makes the announcement next week regarding the expected release date and cost for its new tablet, Android numbers will surge. However, like many consumers, I will be looking at price. If Google is able to price the Nexus tablet in the $200 range or below, sales should be brisk. If it is above that, it may find itself priced out of the market.

What Are Tablets Being Used For?

Below are listed the most common reasons ranked — from most important to least important — that consumers provided for using their tablet computer.

  • To access content and information.
  • To surf the Internet.
  • To check for email messages.
  • To play games.
  • To gain access to social networks.
  • To listen to music.
  • To read books.
  • To buy stuff.

After reading this list, I find that I could move any or all of these items to the top of the list since I use my tablet (Amazon Kindle Fire) to access each of these categories. Another thing I appreciate about my tablet is the ability to multitask while using it. I know that my wife and I sit down of an evening, tablets in hand, to watch TV. I have my Fire and my wife has her iPad, however, despite the report’s findings, I am reluctant to call this multi-tasking since today’s TV programs require very little focus when watching and one can surf, email, or read Facebook entries with ease.

Who Are Today's Tablet Users and Why Have They Become So Important?

I would also venture a guess that many of my fellow Gnomies actually function while juggling three screens or more. This multitasking can include watching TV, using their tablet, and/or managing a PC plus a smartphone all at once. If you fall into one of these categories, let me welcome you into the realm of the Super Geek!

Some of the Other Interesting Facts About Tablet Users

  • Tablet users spent, on average, approximately $359 for products during the past 12 months.
  • Tablet users heavily research products and services before buying.
  • Tablet users prefer free apps with ads instead of paying for apps.
  • iTunes and Amazon are the preferred sources used for purchases.
  • The average time spent on the tablet varies, but is usually spread out over the course of a day and amounts to a total of approximately 14 hours a week.
  • Consumers spend about $2.6 billion a year on apps for their tablets.

So there you have it. A story of us, our tablets, and how we use them to entertain ourselves. Do you have any tablet experiences that you would like to share with us? Please feel free to comment.

Download your copy of the full OPA report: A Portrait of Todays Tablet User Wave II

Source: OPA press release

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by citrixonline