Women Prefer eReaders; 'Wow' Factor of Tablets Appears to Attract Men

As publishers continue to experiment with digital media platforms, the latest consumer research from GfK MRI shows that adult owners of eReaders and Tablets are also heavy readers of the printed versions of magazines and newspapers. 

Tablet owners are 66% more likely than the average U.S. adult to be heavy users of printed versions of magazines, while owners of eReaders are 23% more likely to be heavy magazine users.  Owners of these digital devices are also more likely than the average adult to be heavy newspaper readers; Tablet and eReader owners are 54% and 63% more likely than the average U.S. adult, respectively, to be heavy newspaper readers.  Not surprisingly, given the connectivity of eReaders and especially Tablets, their owners index high for Internet usage.  Tablet owners are 79% more likely than the average adult to be a heavy Internet user, while eReader owners are 36% more likely to be a heavy Internet user.

Meanwhile, a gender difference in terms of digital ownership has emerged; GfK MRI data reveal that women are 52% more likely than men to own an eReader and men are 24% more likely than women to own a Tablet.  Drilling down to the brand level, women are 63% more likely than men to own an Amazon Kindle and twice as likely to own a Barnes & Noble Nook.  Men, on the other hand, are 16% more likely to own an Apple iPad.  Evidence suggests that men's affinity for Tablets may be a reflection of the way they view ownership of technological gadgets with respect to their peers.  For instance, men are much more likely than women to report: "I want others to say 'Wow!' when they see my electronics."

What are digital owners reading on their devices? Books are still the medium of choice among eReader owners, with 87%, on average, having read a book on their device in the last six months. Magazines and newspapers trailed at 15% and 14%, respectively.

The media consumption gap is narrower, however, among owners of Tablets.  Some 57% of Tablet owners, on average, read a book on their device in the last six months compared to 39% who read a magazine and 41% who read a newspaper.

Although Tablet and eReader ownership is still in its infancy, consumer adoption is growing quickly.  For instance, personal ownership of Tablets and eReaders skyrocketed after the 2010 Holiday gift-​giving season.  Average ownership of eReaders was 2.3% of the U.S. adult population in the four months prior to Christmas; that rose to 5.1% of adults, on average, in the four months after Christmas.  The same growth curve is true for Tablets.  Average Tablet ownership in the four months prior to Christmas 2010 was 1.8% of adults; after Christmas average ownership rose to 3.5% of U.S. adults.

"These data reinforce the fact that for a device that's been in the market for a little more than one year, Tablets have caught on in a big way," said Risa Becker, V.P. Research at GfK MRI.  "Approximately three-​and-​one-​half percent of all adults is not a big number in and of itself, but the growth has been very swift and publishers will be encouraged to know that Tablet owners are devotees of both magazines and newspapers."

[Source:  "Survey of the American Consumer."  GfK MRI.  30 June 2011.  Web.  26 July 2011.]