Gaming Devices Remain the Dominant CE Devices Used by Kids but Media Tablets are Gaining Traction

Port Washington, NY, August 13, 2012 – According to Kids and Consumer Electronics: 2012 Edition, the latest report from leading market research company, The NPD Group, when compared to 2011, portable and console video game (VG) systems continue to have the highest usage levels among kids ages 4-14, but media tablets experienced the highest increase in usage at 13 percent in 2012 vs. only 3 percent in 2011.

Additionally, while usage of the more sophisticated devices such as computers and VG devices tend to increase as kids get older, tablet usage is highest among younger children, which highlights how important it is for manufacturers to make their devices easy to use.

According to the report, households with kids ages 4 - 14 own an average of 10 different devices, with kids using an average of five of those devices.

Televisions, computers and cell/smartphones continued to maintain the highest household ownership, while PDMPs saw the largest drop in household ownership with just 35 percent owning these devices in 2012 compared to 48 percent in 2011. Household ownership of console and portable VG systems, media tablets, and digital video cameras experienced the most significant increases.

Portable VG systems are the most popular devices personally owned by kids ages 4-14, with six years of age being the average age of adoption; this is slightly younger than 2011 where the average age was 6.4.

“Kids are using tablets to game, watch movies and TV shows, read books and listen to music-even occasionally for taking pictures- so they have embraced the utility of these devices quite rapidly,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president, industry analysis, The NPD Group. “Older kids also use the tablets for social media and communication, which squarely places these devices at the center for discovery and evangelism of new services and applications, as well as for brands and entertainment of all sorts.”

Future Purchase Dynamics

Gaming systems and portable entertainment devices remain on top the list of devices for which kids will have the most influence on future device selection. When considering future purchases, the type of technology and features offered by a new device is nearly as important as low price and good value.  Parents tend to be influenced more often by brand reputation, low price, safety aspect and educational value, whereas children are more focused on aesthetics, popularity and entertainment value.


An online survey was fielded from March 6-21, 2012, to a representative sample of male and female adults ages 23 and over whom are members of NPD’s online panel and have children ages 4 to 14 in the household. In order to qualify, respondents’ children had to use at least one consumer electronic device measured in the study.  Respondents with more than one child in the specified age range were instructed to answer for a randomly selected child. The study is based on 3,235 completed surveys.  Final data is weighted to US Census metrics and is representative of kids ages 4 to 14.

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