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2014 RJI Mobile Media Research Report 1

More than half of U.S. households now have tablets and three-quarters have smartphones according to the latest Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) mobile media poll.

Households with children were much more likely to have mobile media devices than those without children. In households with children, 70 percent had tablets and 88 percent had smartphones. By comparison, only 45 percent of households without children had tablets and 68 percent had smartphones (see chart 1.1).

Nearly 1,200 randomly selected U.S. adults participated in RJI’s third annual Mobile Media News Consumption survey between Jan. 1 and March 31. This phone survey focused exclusively on the use of smartphones and touch-screen tablets with mobile operating systems. RJI’s two previous surveys included questions about the use of e-readers and other Internet-enabled mobile devices, such as netbooks, tablet PCs, hand-held computers, and ultra-light notebooks.

Among RJI’s other findings about mobile media devices:

  • More than 70 percent of U.S. adults now use smartphones and/or tablets. That represents an increase of 7 percentage points since the beginning of 2013 and 14 points since the beginning of 2012. The greatest increase was in the 55 or older age group, which went from 38 percent in 2013 to 50 percent in 2014 (see chart 1.2).
  • Two-thirds of the participants said they had used a smartphone in the week prior to taking the 2014 survey. About one-third said they had used either a large or mini tablet in the same period (see charts 1.3 and 1.4).
  • Somewhat surprising was a significant decline in the percentage of participants who said they had mini tablets. A possible partial explanation might be that parents are giving their mini tablets to their children when they acquire new large tablets. That could be reflected in the finding that households with children had nearly twice as many mini tablets as households without children (see charts 1.1 and 1.4).
  • The Apple iPhone continues to be the most popular single brand for smartphones. They were used by nearly half of all participants who had smartphones in the 2014 poll. Android-powered smartphones were used by 43 percent (see chart 1.5).
  • The Apple iPad also continues to be the most popular single brand for large tablets even though its share of users has declined from 88 percent in 2012 to 68 percent in 2014. The Amazon Kindle Fire, which launched in the fourth quarter of 2012, now has about 10 percent of large tablet users. The Microsoft Surface RT, which also launched in the fourth quarter of 2012, only has about 1 percent (see chart 1.6).
  • The Apple iPad Mini has gained more than 40 percent of the mini tablet users since its launch in the fourth quarter of 2012. The Amazon Kindle Fire, which dominated the market in 2012, now has only 27 percent (see chart 1.7).
  • Large tablet owners are more likely than smartphone or mini tablet owners to delay acquiring a newer model. Half of all large tablet users in the 2014 poll had had their device for one year or less versus about two-thirds of smartphone users and mini tablet users (see chart 1.8).

NOTE: Results relating to device brands and types are for current aggregated ownership and use, not current sales.

   

Roger Fidler  
 
Program Director for Digital Publishing (Retired)



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