Growth in Ownership of Smartphones and Tablets Appears Largely Android-Driven

Though many tech products predictably skew younger, tablets show some surprising cross-generational reach

Aug 08, 2013, 05:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Aug. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Growth is the word of the day in key areas of the tech world, with tablets and smartphones showing unrelenting growth within their respective markets. Both categories were jump started by strong products from Apple under Steve Jobs' stewardship; however, it appears that Apple's competitors in these categories, Android and Samsung, are the ones presently driving category growth.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,242 adults surveyed online between July 17 and 27, 2013 by Harris Interactive as part of a quarterly "Tech Tracker" intended to act as a barometer of technology ownership and interactions among U.S. adults. (Full findings, including data tables of all devices tracked, available here)

Android driving smartphone ownership growth

The majority of Americans (54%) confirm owning a smartphone, up five points from April (49%) and 8 points since January (46%). Looking at specific smartphones owned:

  • Android ownership (30%) is up four points since April (26%) and seven points since January (23%).
  • iPhone ownership (23%) shows less movement, up one point since April (22%) and two points since January (21%).

iPad still rules tablet category overall, but Samsung and Google are the brands helping the category grow

The tablet category also continues to grow, with nearly four in ten Americans (38%) owning a tablet, up five points since April (33%).

  • Apple's iPad family of products account for a strong percentage of the category, yet shows little movement. The iPad series (17%) is up only one point from April (16%), while ownership of the iPad mini is unchanged (2% in both waves).
  • Amazon's Kindle Fire series (10%) also accounts for a strong proportion of the tablet category, but also shows little change from April (9%).
  • While showing smaller current ownership levels, Samsung's Android-powered Galaxy series (6%) appear to be the product line most notably contributing to category growth, with ownership doubling since April (3%).

Tablets display cross-generational reach

It will likely come as no surprise that tech product ownership is typically more common among younger Americans. That said, tablets – among the newer types of tech devices to hit the market in the past few years – show a surprising reach into older groups:

  • The iPad series appears to be equally appealing to all but the oldest generation, with ownership roughly consistent across every group except Matures (18% Echo Boomers, 19% Gen Xers, 17% Baby Boomers, 10% Matures).
  • The Kindle Fire series appears to cross generations even more comprehensively, perhaps attributable to its focus on easy media consumption over cutting-edge apps; Kindle Fire ownership hovers consistently near the one-in-ten mark (11% Echo Boomers, 12% Gen Xers, 9% each Baby Boomers and Matures).

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 17 and 22, 2013 among 2,242 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

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The Harris Poll® #52, August 8, 2013
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

About Harris Interactive

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