Today, eMarketer released the data from several new reports that show a clear gender-split amongst the U.S. ereader and tablet-owning crowd. The first survey, from GfK MRI, shows a significant difference between men and women with women being the group that is more likely to own an eReader (Kindle, Kobo, others) while men are more pre-disposed to owning a tablet (iPad, PlayBook etc.).
I’ve come to think of men and women of the same age and income as having very similar habits when it comes to technology adoption, so at first these stats surprised me. And then I started thinking about how people in my immediate social circle have been buying (or receiving as gifts) these gadgets and the trend from the study was surprisingly accurate.
I gave my wife a Kobo a year ago for Mother’s Day. My step-mother received a Kindle from her son. Our neighbour bought a Kobo for his wife on our recommendation and I was originally introduced to the Kobo by a female coworker who had bought one almost as soon as it had become available in Canada. Rhonda Callow just tried her first ereader and was pleasantly surprised by the experience.
And while some of these women have iPads or other tablets in their households, none of them bought or were given these gadgets. Why is this so?
It may be as simple as this: Women read more books than men. At least that was the finding of study of U.K. respondents in 2009 as reported by The Telegraph. I couldn’t find any studies to explain why men have taken to tablets in greater numbers but here’s my theory: Tablets are not cheap. At least not compared with eReaders. You can pick up an amazing Kindle for $139. The base iPad 2 will run you $519. That’s a big gap. So going out on a limb here, I think men have an easier time prioritizing a high-priced tech purchase over other needs (wants) such as clothing, travel or food. Most of the men I know have drastically lower clothing budgets than their girlfriends/wives/partners. Is this a massive over-generalization? I’m sure you’ll let me know in the comments :)
As second study that took a look at online shoppers provides a slightly different perspective and includes age and income data. Bizrate Insights and Forrester Research together found that tablet ownership is dominated by older, wealthier people with the average age and income at $109,690 and 44 respectively.
But also clear from the study is that these demographics are going to changing rapidly over the coming months as the reported average income of those who intend to buy a tablet is only $83,740 – still a well-off group, but less so than current owners. While the variety of tablets on the market is increasing constantly, Apple’s share of that market has changed little. And since Apple isn’t going to be dropping their iPad prices anytime soon, these numbers strongly suggest that tablet ownership is becoming something that more and more people consider a necessity.
Just for fun, let’s see where Sync readers fall in the gender vs. ownership landscape. For the sake of this poll, if you bought one of the gadgets yourself, or it was given to you as a gift, you own it. If you have one in your household but you did not buy it yourself or get it as a gift, you don’t own it.