A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that U.S. tablet ownership rates skyrocketed from 10 percent to 19 percent between mid-December and early January (See yesterday’s 2012 Predictions: Brave New Mobile World).

Despite relatively little change in ownership rates earlier this autumn when Amazon introduced its $199 Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble introduced its NOOK Tablet, these relatively affordable devices proved disruptive over the holiday season, displacing dozens of other devices to become the second and fourth best-selling tablets in the U.S. market, respectively.

 

The survey also registers significant demographic shifts among tablet owners. A staggering 36 percent of those surveyed with household incomes of $75,000 or greater reported that they own tablets in early January, up from just 22 percent in mid-December.

This data further underscores the opportunity for prestige brands on tablets – and especially the iPad. In L2’s recently published Prestige 100®: Mobile IQ, we find that although 37 percent of brands in the Index have a presence on both the iPhone and iPad, only 16 percent have created a unique experience for iPad users rather than simply replicating the same app across both devices.

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