Whether you're male or female, there's an almost equal chance that you own a smartphone. But what about tablets and e-readers? Do men and women share different preferences when it comes to the latest and greatest mobile devices?
According to Nielsen's latest survey of mobile device owners, the answer is increasingly 'yes.' In Q2 2011, it found that 61% of e-readers were owned by women, up from 46% in the third quarter of 2010. Tablets? Almost the opposite: 57% of them are owned by men.
In other words, borrowing from the concept behind the classic relationships book 'Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,' it would appear that tablets are from Mars and e-readers are from Venus.
At least for the time being. Both kinds of devices are still relatively new, so there's a reasonable possibility that in time, more women will purchase tablets and more men will purchase e-readers, balancing things out.
At the same time, there is a possibility that the devices do have a different appeal that won't simply fade over time. As GigaOm's Ryan Kim notes, for instance, there is research suggesting that women like reading books more than men.
If this research is accurate, the logical implication would be that e-reader ownership would remain higher for females. On the tablet side of the equation, surveys indicate that tablets are popular as gaming devices, so perhaps the stereotypical male gamer will support higher ownership of tablets amongst men.
Whatever the case, Nielsen's survey is a good reminder for digital marketers that new categories of devices are not the same. There are, in many instances, demographic differences between them which should be noted.
As opportunities to reach consumers via tablets and e-readers multiply, savvy marketers will pay close attention to demographics and demographic trends to guide their tablet and e-reader marketing strategies.