More Parents Buying Tablets for Children

Ownership of tablets in households with 2 ‑12 year olds has increased from 50 percent to 59 percent in the past 12 months, according to the Evolution of Play 2014 report from The NPD Group. Among kids ages 2 to 12, usage of tablets has also increased, from 38 percent in 2013 to 48 percent in 2014. Almost half of parents say that their child is playing on a tablet more than they were a year ago, a rate not matched by any other device. While tablet ownership and play are increasing, two-​thirds of parents don’t see it taking away from traditional toys.

Most households have electronics such as tablets, and in some cases children not only use these devices, they are the primary owners,” said Juli Lennett, president of the Toys division at The NPD Group. “The role of technology in children’s lives cannot be overlooked, and parents recognize that, while sometimes struggling with it.”

The parents who are most likely to see the impact of technology are those with a child in the 10 to 12 age group, who were just as likely to have purchased technology in the past 12 months as they were to purchase traditional toys. The youngest of these children (ages 2 to 5), though they are likely to have some exposure to electronic devices, are still well entrenched in their traditional toys. It is the parents of kids who are caught between young and old (ages 6 to 9) that seem to struggle more with technology – they like the touch and feel of traditional toys, and limit their child’s time on devices. These parents are more likely to purchase traditional toys, but 37 percent also state that their child’s playtime with technology has lessened their playtime with traditional toys.

This generation is using technology as their coming-​of-​age play source, as past generations have done by moving to other items or methods of play as they aged,” added Lennett. “Understanding the evolution within today’s play arena is as important to success in the toy industry as understanding the balance that today’s parents try to strike between the role of technology and traditional toys in their children’s lives.”

Ad-​ology Research reports that 13% of U.S. adults intend to purchase a touchscreen tablet in the next year. Of these, 19% have children under age 5 while 21.7% have children between the ages of 5 and 9.  In addition to expected tablet purchases, these consumers over-​index for the purchase of childcare services and sports instruction. In the last year, 60% of these consumers took action as the result of a mobile app or text message.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-​ology PRO. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.