On the heels of Apple releasing the iPad mini (and iPad 4) and Microsoft rolling out its Surface tablets, mobile advertising and analytics firm Flurry has released new data looking at how tablets compare to smartphones when it comes to app use. The upshot: tablet users skew older, more female, more affluent and are spend more time with media and entertainment apps.
The findings are based on more than 6 billion app sessions across more than 500 million “smart” devices. For age and gender comparisons, Flurry relies on a panel of more than 30 million people that have opted in to share demographic data.
The average age is 30 for smartphone users and 34 for tablet owners. Almost three quarters of smartphone users are 34 or younger, while more than two-thirds of tablet user are 25 or older.
The study also pointed to separate research by Frank N. Magid and Associates showing household incomes for tablet owners are becoming increasingly affluent, with 59% exceeding $50,000 compared to the U.S. average of 41% of households with incomes over that level.
While smartphone use tends to be slightly more male (56% vs. 44%), it splits about evenly (51% vs. 49%) between men and women on tablets. Media companies and marketers have a better shot at reaching a more balanced audience gender-wise on tablets versus smartphones.
Apart from demographics, the study sheds light on the two-screen viewing phenomenon. It found that tablet use spikes during TV’s prime-time hours — 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. — while smartphone use is more evenly distributed throughout the day. “This would indicate that tablets are more often used alongside, or instead of television viewing than smartphones,” stated a Flurry blog post today.
The types of apps people use on the two devices also reflect tablets are more likely to be used for lean-back media consumption. Games are the largest category on both devices, accounting for 67% of time spent on tablets, and 39% on smartphones. But entertainment apps make up 9% of time spent on tablets compared to only 3% on smartphones.
The findings suggest tablets playing a key role in the evolution of connected TV. With Apple and Google expanding into the living room with their own connected TV initiatives, “game consoles made by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would experience the greatest competition,” according to Flurry.
Research released by Yankee Group in June also showed tablets are now as popular as PCs for watching video and second only to TVs. Overall, 65% of tablet owners watch video frequently on their devices and more than half (57%) of smartphone users do so.