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More than half a billion Internet-connected devices in U.S. homes

March 18, 2013|By Andrea Chang

Thanks to the increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones, the number of Internet-connected devices in U.S. homes has surpassed half a billion.

The number of connected devices per U.S. household with Internet access has grown to 5.7, up from 5.3 devices three months ago, according to a report released Monday by market research firm NPD Group. During that period, the “installed base” of tablets grew by nearly 18 million units, and smartphone users increased by nearly 9 million.

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. remained the top two smartphone brands that consumers own, and Apple dominates the tablet market with its iPad.

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“Even with this extraordinary growth in the smartphone and tablet market, PCs are still the most prevalent connected device in U.S. Internet households, and this is a fact that won’t be changing anytime soon,” said John Buffone, director of devices for NPD Connected Intelligence.

PC penetration among U.S. Internet-connected households is 93%, virtually unchanged over the three-month period.

Smartphones and tablets, however, increased their penetration. Smartphone penetration rose to 57% from 52% of cellphone users, and tablet penetration increased to 53% from 35% of Internet households.

“It’s hard to believe that tablets and smartphones are still somewhat in their infancy,” Buffone said. “But as we have seen in just the past few months, there is significant potential for this market to develop further.”

As the market develops, a rise in smaller tablets is predicted.

Last week, a separate report by International Data Corp. said worldwide tablet shipments were expected to increase to 190.9 million units this year — up from a previous estimate of 172.4 million — in part because of a predicted surge in smaller, lower-priced tablets.

“One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond,” said Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst for IDC's Tablet Tracker. “Vendors are moving quickly to compete in this space as consumers realize that these small devices are often more ideal than larger tablets for their daily consumption habits.”

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