Older Americans favor tablets, e-book readers

olderadults1_artA new study says older adults are favoring tablets and e-book readers over smartphones, even as smartphone ownership among Americans has exceeded 50 percent.

Only 18 percent of Americans 65 and older own a smartphone, up from 11 percent in 2011, the Pew Internet Research Project says in its study released today.

They are gravitating to tablet computers and e-book readers. Some 18% of seniors own an e-book reader, and an identical 18% own a tablet computer. Taken together, 27% of older adults own a tablet, an e-book reader, or both.

This is even as older people consider them primarily “elite” devices, according to Pew. Older consumers who graduated from college and have annual incomes of $75,000 or more are three times as likely to own a tablet or e-book reader as those without college degrees and substantially lower incomes.

Still, e-book reader ownership among seniors remains lower than the national average — 24 percent of all U.S. adults own the devices. Tablet ownership among older users is about half the national average of 34 percent.

Older Americans also continue to stay relatively detached from online and mobile life, according to Pew — 41 percent do not use the Internet at all, 53 percent do not have broadband access at home, and 23 percent do not use cell phones of any kind.