Ownership of tablets and e-book readers saw a big spike over the holidays — in fact, it nearly doubled in the United States, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.
The study was based on telephone surveys conducted in mid-December and January, which found that ownership of both device types nearly doubled in just a month. Now a total of 29 percent of US adults own a tablet or an e-reader, or possibly both.
The jump follows a period during the fall of 2011 where the numbers seemed relatively stagnant. Over at The Atlantic, Megan Garber uses that fact to ask if these sales are just a fad. Her comparison to Tickle Me Elmo feels like a bit of a stretch, and I don’t think there’s anything unusual about gadgets seeing sales growth over the holidays, but she’s probably right to be wary of premature pronouncements on the inevitability and ubiquity of tablet ownership.
The study also examines the differences between each device. As a percentage of total population, tablet and e-reader ownership seem to be be marching in lockstep, but the demographics aren’t the same . While both tablet and e-reader ownership skews heavily toward those with more education and higher incomes, the difference isn’t quite as dramatic for e-readers, Pew says.