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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 23, 2012 at 10:27 AM

New digital divide: Tablets and e-readers?

Tablet and e-reader ownership is soaring — especially among wealthy, educated, middle-aged Americans.

That’s according to a new Pew survey that found tablet and e-reader ownership nearly doubled — from 10 percent to 19 percent — over the holidays. Overall the number of Americans with a tablet device went from 18 percent to 29 percent.

Falling prices were a big factor, with the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet arriving at roughly half the price of Apple’s iPad, and new e-readers appearing under $100, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project said in its release.

The most striking finding, though, was the rate of tablet ownership in the upper class.

Some 36 percent of households earning over $75,000 had “tablet computers” in mid-January, up from 22 percent in mid December. Ownership falls to 16 percent among households making $30,000 to $49,999, and 8 percent among households earning below $30,000.

Lower prices may be changing the situation. Ownership in less affluent households doubled over the holiday season as average prices in the category fell.

Here are a few charts from the report. The footnotes say the January results have a 2.4 percent margin of error.

pew1.jpg

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