Holidays a gift for tablet, e-book reader market

The share of adults in the United States who own tablet computers nearly doubled over the holiday selling season, according to a new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Ownership of tablet computers increased from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January. The same surge in growth applied to e-book readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same time period.

The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.

The Pew Center says the findings are striking “because they come after a period from mid-2011 into the autumn in which there was not much change in the ownership of tablets and e-book readers. However, as the holiday gift-giving season approached, the marketplace for both devices dramatically shifted.”

Pew attributes some of that adoption to the introduction of relatively cheaper versions of Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet. In the e-book reader world some versions of the Kindle and Nook and other readers fell below $100.

The results come from ongoing surveys by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project aimed at tracking growth in the ownership of both devices. A pre-holiday survey was conducted among 2,986 people age 16 and older between November 16 and December 21, 2011 and has a margin of error of +/- two percentage points.

The post-holiday data come from the combined results of two surveys – one conducted January 5-8 among 1,000 adults age 18 and older and another conducted January 12-15 of 1,008 adults. The combined surveys have a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.