NEW YORK: Tablets are exerting an increasingly profound influence on media and purchase habits in the US, new figures suggest.

The Online Publishers Association, the trade body, and Frank N. Magid Associates, the consultancy, polled 2,450 people, and broke out the results for tablet owners. 

Uptake was now found to have reached 31%, versus 12% last year. Looking ahead, it was predicted penetration would hit 47% by the second quarter of 2013, an expansion from 28m users in 2011 to 117m in 2013.

A 52% majority of the current audience have an iPad, and 51% possess alternatives powered by Google's Android operating system, suggesting some shoppers have acquired more than one brand.

On average, consumers utilise these devices for 13.9 hours per week, with 60% accessing them several times a day and 14% doing so at least once every 24 hours.

More specifically, 85% of relevant interviewees engaged in media multitasking, typically spending 1.6 hours a day using their tablet alongside a mobile phone or when watching television.

Another 66% engaged in "three screen" concurrent media usage, undertaking activities on tablets at the same time as completing tasks on a mobile or desktop PC, or when in front of the TV, usually for 1.2 hours a day.

Moreover, 71% of tablet owners positively preferred this appliance to a mobile phone, standing at 59% for using the web on a PC, 58% when discussing hard copy newspapers and 53% for magazines.

Some 61% of the same group had purchased content via these devices, either in the form of single issues of magazines, books, newspaper subscriptions, full length films or television shows.

An additional 96% of users had downloaded apps in the last year, averaging 22 per person. Some 72% of the sample had paid for such tools, which took a 23% share in volume terms. App sales were pegged at $1.2bn in 2011, and could yield $2.6bn in 2012.

Elsewhere, 38% of users had made purchases after seeing tablet ads in the last six months. A further 38% had researched products, 23% had clicked on these messages, 20% had redeemed coupons or offers, 19% visited product websites and 15% logged on to Facebook pages.

Users spent an average of $359 making purchases via tablets in the 12 months before the study. Media and entertainment was the top category, ahead of retail and apparel and electronics.

Data sourced from Online Publishers Association; additional content by Warc staff