nexus7 tabletThere were 116 million tablets in use across the U.S. as of 4Q 2014. Nearly 16 million (13.7 percent) are connecting to wireless networks via cellular data plans, a year-over-year increase of 95 percent, according to new market data from NPD Group.

Educated and more affluent consumers are driving growth in tablet cellular data usage, NPD Connected Intelligence highlights in its latest Connected Home Report. “Tablet owners who connect through cellular data plans possess a very different demographic profile than their Wi-Fi tablet using counterparts,” NPD points out in a press release.

Cellular-Connected Tablet Growth
Income level is the most prominent distinguishing characteristic among American tablet users connecting via cellular data plans. Cellular tablet owners have an average household income of $105,000 as compared to average annual income that’s $17,000 per year lower for Wi-Fi tablet owners.

Though not as prominent, level of education was another distinguishing factor. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. cellular tablet owners are college graduates. That compares to 51 percent among Wi-Fi tablet owners.

Similarly, 66 percent of cellular tablet owners lived in households with no children under age 18. That compares to 59 percent among Wi-Fi tablet owners.

“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,” John Buffone, executive director, Connected Intelligence, was quoted as saying. “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.”

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