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Nielsen Data reveals low tablet adoption, rising mobile web use

As Nielsen wraps up their 2010 data, they have compiled their complete annual research into their 2010 U.S. Media Universe report revealing some surprising facts about America’s gadget obsession (or lack thereof in some cases). Text messaging is still alive and well and mobile phone web use is on the rise, yet current tablet ownership is extremely low with an equally surprisingly low number of people intending to purchase tablet technologies.

According to the report, there are 228 million mobile phone users over the age of 13. There are 310 million Americans total, including children, so 74% of all living people in America have a mobile phone. Take pause and note that this means almost every single person over the age of 13 is carrying a cell phone in their pocket right now.

Of those mobile phone users, 83.2 million are mobile phone web users, meaning that 36.5% of all mobile phone users are using the web on their device. What strikes us, however is that this number is so low given that the top 10 mobile phones sold are all web capable.

Speaking of the top 10 phones:

  1. Apple iPhone 3Gs
  2. Samsung sch-u450 (Intensity, Doubletake)
  3. Motorola Droid
  4. RIM blackberry 8500 series (Curve 8520, 8530)
  5. Apple iPhone 4
  6. Apple iPhone 3G
  7. RIM Blackberry 8300 series (Curve 8310, 8320, 8330, 8350i)
  8. LG VX9200 (enV3)
  9. Samsung SCH-U350 series (Smooth, Glint)
  10. RIM Blackberry 9700 (Bold)

Text messaging on the rise

We’ve talked before about the rise in text messaging and GenY’s increasing preference for Realtors to communicate via text, and across all demographics, text messaging is alive, well and on the rise. 66% of all mobile phone owners send SMS/text messages with teens still dominating the number of texts sent per month. Users aged 18-24 text twice as much as those aged 25-34, and teens aged 13-17 text twice as much as that. This number has dramatically risen over the years, and as much as we cover emerging trends, text messaging is still an effective method of reaching and communicating with buyers.

Emerging technologies

Of all the Nielsen data, what struck us the most was their research on emerging device ownership and purchase intent:

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  • 75% have computers with high speed internet, 5% “definitely/probably will buy”
  • 14% have tvs with internet connections, 7% “definitely/probably will buy”
  • 10% have devices that connect their TV to the internet, 7% “definitely/probably will buy”
  • 9% have netbooks, 6% “definitely/probably will buy”
  • 5% have ebook readers, 7% “definitely/probably will buy”
  • 1% have tablets, 6% “definitely/probably will buy”

Overall, 2012 will look dramatically different than 2010

What these overall trends (of adoption rates and use of what tech savvy individuals would call dated technologies) show is that Apple doesn’t quite have a corner on the American market given that Apple is one of the only companies with a tablet out in early 2010. Sure, it’s the media darling and sure, it’s got widespread appeal, but Nielsen shows that so few people in America actually own or intend on purchasing advanced technologies that the landscape isn’t changing as quickly as some have speculated it would. These numbers will look dramatically different in 2012 as retail shelves are stocked with dozens of iPad and iPhone competitors, most likely led by Google.

For the full Nielsen report, click here.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Jodi

    January 6, 2011 at 11:21 am

    As soon as our MLS runs on an iPad, I’ll buy one.

  2. David Pylyp

    January 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

    So……. I want a tablet
    Lenovo has a tablet where the screen turns and lays back
    iPad the obvious choice… but
    Rim has a second gen tablet coming out that will integrate everything I want.

    Smart Phones and Tablets are where we are going!

    Living in Toronto and Loving it!
    David Pylyp

  3. Jonathan Price

    January 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Well, my family ignored my broad hints to get me an iPad at Xmas

  4. Pingback: Apps are dead, so how are w supposed to appeal to mobile users? - The Real Daily

  5. Pingback: Apps are dead, so how are do we appeal to mobile users now!? - The American Genius

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