According to a study released today by the Online Publishers Association, one out of almost every two internet users in the U.S. will soon own a tablet. “A Portrait of Today’s Tablet User – Wave II,” a follow-up to last year’s report on the American tablet user, analyzes survey results from 2,540 internet users and looks at everything from overall tablet penetration to a variety of user behaviors. In just 12 months, quite a bit has changed in this arena–most notably, just how many people own an iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook or one of the other tablets currently on the market. From last June to this June, total tablet ownership in this country has nearly tripled, from 12 percent to 31 percent. And by early next year, that figure is expected to increase again by a similar margin to just shy of 50 percent.
Other areas showing significant YOY growth are the amount of time tablet users spend on their devices (now up to several uses per day and 14 hours per week) and that they are using them to research purchases and engage in m-commerce more frequently. In last year’s report, OPA found 31 percent of tablet owners made an online purchase on their device in the past year; this year, that number is up almost one-quarter to 38 percent. These purchases are likely researched and made at home, where two-thirds of tablet usage now takes place.
Finally, tablet app purchasers (96 percent) and average number of apps per device (22) also saw upticks since last year. These numbers may see a decrease in next year’s report, however, as OPA found that tablet users are increasingly partial to free, ad-supported apps, rather than paid ones.