August 7, 2012, 1:21 PM

Here’s what tablet owners look like

A new service from comScore paints a vivid picture of U.S. tablet owners.

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Mobile and web measurement firm comScore Inc. is taking its first in-depth look at the tablet market with a new research service called TabLens, similar to its MobiLens for smartphones. The first data to come out of TabLens, which uses a panel of 6,000 U.S. tablet owners, paints a vivid picture of the average tablet user.

The gender of tablet owners is split down the middle, 50-50, the study finds. By comparison, 51.9% of smartphone owners are men and 48.1% are women.

The average age for tablet users is generally in line with that of the U.S. population as a whole, with 63.3% of tablet owners under the age of 45 and 42.7% under 35. The median age of the U.S. population is 37.1, according to the “World Factbook” published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The comScore study finds 5.5% of tablet users are 13-17; 13.0%, 18-24; 24.2%, 25-34; 20.6%, 35-44; 18.1%, 45-54; 11.0%, 55-64; and 7.6%, 65 or older.

Tablet owners skew more affluent. 38.4% of tablet users reside in a household with more than $100,000 in annual income; 16.7%, $75,000 to $100,000; 19.1%, $50,000 to $75,000; 18.1% $25,000 to $50,000; and 7.8%, less than $25,000, the study says. The media U.S. household income is about $48,000.

A comparison by brand shows owners of Apple Inc.’s iPad skewed male (52.9%), slightly younger (44.5% under the age of 35) and wealthier (46.3% residing in households with income of $100,000 or greater) compared to an average tablet user during the three-month period ending June 2012, according to the study.

By comparison, Kindle Fire owners skew female (56.6%), comScore says. Both Android and Kindle Fire users have average household incomes below that of iPad owners.

Analysis of the top purchase consideration factors for an average tablet owner found that selection of apps and price of tablet led as the most important factors, both scoring 7.7 on a 10-point scale, comScore says. Brand name of tablet and tablet operating system followed as the next most important factors, each with a 7.5 rating, while music/video capabilities ranked No. 5 in purchase consideration factors with a rating of 7.4.

Consumers did not place strong importance on having the same operating system across their tablet and smartphone, with this factor falling outside of the top five consideration factors for the average tablet owner. This finding highlights the potential for brands, such as Microsoft Corp. with its recently announced Surface Tablet, to rack up tablet sales even though they’re not leaders in smartphones, comScore says.

Overall, tablet users are happy with their devices. The average user’s satisfaction rating on a 10-point scale is 8.6, the study finds, compared to 8.1 for smartphones.

Tablets are in the spotlight at this year’s Internet Retailer Mobile Marketing & Commerce Forum Oct. 8-10 in San Diego. Cam Fortin, director of business development at, will speak on wowing with cool and practical iPad apps in a session entitled “The Wow Factor: Fun Things Marketers Have Done with an iPad.”

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