Monday, January 23, 2012

Tablet, E-Reader Ownership Doubles in One Month: Unprecedented

The share of adults in the United States who own a tablet of some sort nearly doubled from 10 percent to 19 percent between mid-December 2011 and early January 2012.

The ownership of e-readers also surged from 10 percent to 19 percent over the same time period. Tablet ownership doubled in two months

That is an unprecedented growth rate for any consumer electronics device. Tablet ownership also had been on a strong adoption path earlier in 2011 as well, but doubling in 30 days from a base of 10 percent seems never to have occurred before.

To be sure, 10 percent adoption historically has been an inflection point: it is the point in an adoption process that represents critical mass, after which adoption accelerates.

You'll have to click on this chart to view it in more detail, but it is one of the most useful bits of historical evidence you can use to estimate how long it might take an application, service or device to reach 10 percent penetration of U.S. households, for example.

There are some caveats. Not every innovation succeeds. This chart only shows you what happened with the most-popular consumer electronics services and products.

The reason for sharing the chart is that a panel I was recently on was asked how long it might take for near field communications technology to be adopted by a significant number of U.S. consumers.

My response, based on past work studying consumer electronics adoption rates, was that it can take quite a significant amount of time, between three and 10 years, to reach the crucial 10-percent-of-homes threshold, which seems to be the point at which any innovation really begins to accelerate, in terms of adoption.  Consumer adoption patterns

Also, the more complicated the ecosystem, the longer it will take. Apple iPhones and iPads did not take long to reach the 10-percent penetration mark, because they operate in a fully-developed ecosystem where all that is required is purchase of a product, to obtain the value.

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