More Educated & Affluent Consumers Are Driving Cellular Tablet Activations, According to The NPD Group

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 9, 2015 – As of the fourth quarter of 2014, there were 116 million tablets in use among U.S. consumers. Nearly 16 million of these tablets were actively using a cellular data plan, an increase of 95 percent over the past year.  According to the NPD Connected Intelligence Connected Home Report, cellular activations are more common among more educated and more affluent consumers. 

Tablet owners who connect through cellular data plans possess a very different demographic profile than their Wi-Fi tablet using counterparts.  Among the characteristics, income is the most prominent.  Cellular tablet owners have an average household income of $105,000 versus Wi-Fi tablet owners whose average annual income is $17,000 less.

Demographic Breakdown

Cellular vs. Wi-Fi Activated Tablet Owners

Source: The NPD Group/Connected Intelligence Q4 Connected Home Report

Base: U.S. Internet Homes

Age and education is based on the adult surveyed in the tablet-owning home

Wi-Fi tablet owning homes do not own any tablets with an active data plan

“Cellular-embedded tablet use is growing rapidly, however, for it to become a mass market product mobile carriers need to appeal to a mass market audience,” said John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence. “While 2014 marked the year consumers activated cellular enabled tablets, 2015 must become the year this technology reaches a broader demographic audience. Access to Wi-Fi at home and work is the primary barrier to adoption, so messaging from carriers must emphasize on-the-go activities. In particular, navigation, email, and posting photos and videos are the primary activities used more frequently when consumers connect their tablet to a data plan.”


Connected Home Report

More than 5,000 U.S. consumers, age 18 and older were surveyed in the fourth quarter of 2014.  Tablet ownership survey results were calibrated to life-to-date unit sales from the NPD Retail Tracking Service.

About Connected Intelligence

Connected Intelligence provides competitive intelligence and insight on the rapidly evolving consumer’s connected environment. The service focuses on the three core components of the connected market: the device, the broadband access that provides the connectivity and the content that drives consumer behavior. These three pillars of the connected ecosystem are analyzed through a comprehensive review of what is available, adopted, and consumed by the customer, as well as reviewing how the market will evolve over time and what the various vendors can do to best position themselves in this evolving market. For more information: Follow Connected Intelligence on Twitter: @npdci.

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