Portrait Of A Tablet User

According to a new study by the OPA and Frank Magid Associates, tablet usage is exploding, and tablets have become embedded in people’s lives. Accessing content and information was found to be the dominant activity on the device (94%), followed by accessing the internet (67%) and checking email (66%). The study also revealed that tablet users’ primary content-related activities include watching video (54%), getting weather information (49%), and accessing national news (37%) and entertainment content (36%).

The survey found that current U.S. tablet adoption is at 31% in 2012 (74MM tablet users), up from 12% in 2011 (28MM tablet users) and is expected to reach 47% (117MM tablet users) by Q2 2013.

Pam Horan, President of the OPA, says “... 61% of tablet users is... purchased tablet content in the past year... 38% of tablet users have made a purchase after having seen tablet advertising... purchasing an average of $359 in the past year... 29% of tablet users also indicated that tablet advertising drives them to research products... 23% have clicked on an advertisement... ”

The report summarizes the tablet audience report as follows:

  • An estimated 31% of the U.S. Internet population, ages 8-64, uses a tablet (estimated 74.1 million consumers), up from 12% (28.3 million consumers) in 2011
  • Android device penetration has grown, and is now nearly even with iOS device penetration
  • Tablet satisfaction has increased with 58% of tablet users very satisfied with their tablet, up from 50% in 2011
  • Tablet adoption is trending older, more balanced between males and females and more affluent... the majority of tablet users come from households earning $50K or more
  • Tablet penetration is expected to reach 47% by early 2013 (estimated 117.4 million consumers)

And, classified by age, tablet users are currently predominate in the 25 to 44 age group. Overall, the report concludes that the tablet user base is trending older, as the proportion aged between 8 and 24 has fallen 8% over the past year, while the proportion aged 35 to 54 has grown 8%.

Tablet Users (% Share, June 2012)

Age Group

% Using Tablet















Source: Online Publishers Association, June 2012

Included in the OPA report is a summary of the content variety in the regular weekly use of the tablet.

Tablet Content Use

Regular Weekly Viewing

% of Users

Watch video


Weather information


Local news


National news










Reference materials




Lifestyle content


Stock market


Source: OPA/Census Bureau/eMarketer, June 2012

More key findings from “A Portrait of Today’s Tablet User – Wave II” include:

  • Tablets have become embedded in users’ lives with 74% using the device daily and 60% using it several times a day
  • Tablet users spend an average of 13.9 hours per week with their tablets
  • 92% of video watched on the tablet is short form news and entertainment, followed by 64% viewing user generated content (e.g. YouTube)
  • Paid apps account for 23% of all tablet apps downloaded in the past year
  • The tablet app market has doubled with an estimated $2.6B spent in 2012, up from $1.4B in 2011

Horan also noted that “... tablet users are... becoming cross-platform consumers, with 32% of tablet users simultaneously using two screens for 3.1 hours per day... 29% simultaneously using three screens for 2.8 hours per day... an incredible opportunity for cross-platform advertising campaigns.”

Additional information, summarized by Marketing Charts, includes the following.

Women, who made up 51% of the survey respondents, accounted for 44% of the tablet user base, up 4% from the previous wave of the survey. And among respondents who do not currently own a tablet but plan to purchase one in the next 12 months, 52% are female.

Higher-income households over-index in tablet usage. Respondents with an HHI of at least $100k accounted for 20% of the tablet user base, as compared to 12% of the survey sample. Similarly, those with an HHI of at least $50k accounted for 59% of the tablet users, versus 41% of the total sample.

Other Findings:

  • 31% of the survey respondents reported being either tablet owners or regular users. 94% of those indicate they own their tablets
  • The proportion of tablet users who are very satisfied with their device has risen from 50% in 2011 to 58% this year
  • 74% of tablet users are on their device at least daily, and average 13.9 hours per week spent using a tablet
  • One-third of tablet use is occurring outside the home
  • The most popular tablet activity is accessing content and information, at 94% of respondents, up from 87% in 2011.
  • A majority of tablet users responding to the OPA survey said they prefer reading on tablets to reading on mobile phones, computers, newspapers, and magazines
  • 23% of tablet applications downloaded in the past year by users were paid apps.
  • Tablet users are almost 3 times more likely to prefer a free app with ads (54%) than to pay slightly more for an app with no ads (19%)
  • The most popular types of products researched on a tablet in the past 6 months are consumer electronics (37%), restaurants/fast food (36%), media and entertainment, and retail and apparel (both at 35%)

For additional information from the OPA, and to download a copy of the study’s findings in PDF format, click here.



1 comment about "Portrait Of A Tablet User".
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  1. Colin Crawford from Media7, July 4, 2012 at 12:02 p.m.

    I find it extremely hard to believe that the household penetration level of the Kindle Fire is at 28% compared to the 31% of the iPad 2. (slide 7) While Amazon does not report numbers most research shows the shipments to be a fraction of the iPad.

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