Consumer and business content consumption patterns appear to be changing as tablet and e-reader ownership grow super fast. In fact, one might argue that tablets and e-readers are being adopted faster than any other consumer electronics or communications products of all time.

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. That’s a doubling of mass market adoption in just 30 days, from a significant base.

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

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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.

And it appears that strong adoption is occurring both in the consumer and business markets.
Fully 51 percent of IT decision-makers surveyed by IDG say they “always” use their iPad at work (and a further 40 percent say they sometimes use it at work), IDG reports after conducting a survey on tablet use for work. Tablet business use

Though iPads seem to be used for a variety of purposes, content consumption seems to be a dominant business application, though significant percentages of business users also say the tablet displaces some amount of smart phone use as well.

Web browsing, reading and news consumption are the top three usage contexts identified by professionals worldwide.

Whether tablet ownership “revives” the print newspaper and magazine market remains to be seen. But it already is pretty clear that tablets and e-readers are changing the function of “reading.”

The survey suggests that tablet computing is transforming patterns of content consumption. iPad-owning IT and business professionals are rapidly migrating away from newspapers and printed books, toward digital alternatives.

Nearly three quarters of iPad owners say that owning an iPad has reduced the frequency with which they purchase newspapers and books. Whether that helps or harms print content providers remains to be seen.

What is very clear, though, is that tablets and e-readers are being adopted faster than any other personal device, period.

Historically, 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 point is that it can take quite a significant amount of time, between three and 10 years, for a successful and mass-adopted innovation 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

Tablets not only reached that level in a couple of years, they then exploded, doubling from 10 percent to nearly 20 percent, in literally 30 days. That is unheard of.

Also, it appears that Amazon might be winning its bet that if it sold Amazon Kindles almost at cost, it could grow content sales substantially.

RBC Capital analyst Ross Sandler polled 216 Kindle Fire owners and concluded that Kindle Fire tablets are making Amazon more money than was originally expected. Sandler originally had estimated that each Kindle Fire unit would generate about $136 in content purchases over the useful life of the device.Content purchases on Kindle Fire

But Sandler’s most-recent survey of 216 Kindle Fire owners suggests content revenue might be higher than that.

The survey found that roughly 80 percent of users already have purchased ebooks, with 58 percent of respondents buying more than three e-books within the first two months of owning the tablet.

Averaged out, that’s five e-books per quarter, which nets Amazon $15 per Fire owner per quarter, assuming an average selling price of $10 for ebooks. That further implies revenue from e-books of about $60 a year.

About 41 percent of Fire owners also say they have bought at least three apps. This will put another $9 per Fire owner per quarter into Amazon’s coffers, or $36 a year of net revenue (after splitting gross revenue with content owners).

That implies possible gross sales of about $30 a quarter worth of apps, assuming Amazon’s share of revenue is 30 percent.

Those figures suggest annual Kindle Fire revenue of about $96 a year. Over three years, that suggests $288 of revenue for Amazon, even if users do not buy any video or audio products, which seems unlikely.

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