Over the holidays we kept referring to that day in the late ’90s when everyone got a modem* for Christmas, and the next day you could barely get AOL on dial-up because it was so busy as everyone tried out their new toy. That was what we predicted for Boxing Day as far as tablets go. And sure enough, ownership has doubled over the last month, to the tune of 1 in 3 Americans now owning some kind of tablet.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project today released a “mini-report” on the adoption of tablets and e-readers that found the number of Americans owning tablets and e-readers nearly doubled over the holidays. The bottom line numbers represent phenomenal growth in consumer device adoption: from mid-December 2011 to early January 2012, the number of Americans owning a tablet computer rose to 19% from 10%, and the growth in e-book readers jumped an identical amount, to 19% from 10%. Overall, the number of Americans owning either one of these devices jumped from 18% to 29%, meaning that nearly 1 in 3 Americans now owns a device.

* An external electronic device used for connecting a computer to a network via telephone line.


  1. Wow, unless that number includes smartphones, I find that number hard to swallow. I mean, I like to think I know a lot of people, and I could probably count the number of those people who I’m aware of owning a tablet on my fingers and toes…again, unless smartphones count.

  2. Nope, don’t buy that for a second. I live in Southern California, one of the places you would expect to be able to find these things laying on the ground like litter, and I can count on one hand the people I know who own one.

  3. Hard to believe, but it seems that the Pew Research Centre backs up its poll.. margin of error around 2.4%, polled around 4000 adults.
    Of course those were adults who had phones…