Women own most of the UK's tablet computers says study

iPad Mini YouGov suggests that the launch of the iPad Mini has helped boost the number of women owners

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There are now more tablet computers owned by women than men in the UK, according to a study.

YouGov's latest Tablet Tracker report indicates that women owned 52% of the country's touchscreen computers in May.

That's a reversal of the position last year when the pollster put the figure at 43%.

It suggests the turnaround is driven by both the release of smaller tablets and women getting hold of second-hand devices.

The trend has also helped boost the number of 18-to-34-year-olds owning one of the touchscreen computers - they now account for 26% of the market, compared with 19% a year ago.

"The early adopters of tablets have typically been affluent males," said John Gilbert, lead director at YouGov Technology and Telecoms.

"As they buy the latest models, they have placed their old devices on to the secondary market or given them to other members of their household.

"A growing number of females and under-35s own older tablets, such as the iPad 1 and 2 while affluent males have the more recent iPad 3 and 4 and Samsung devices.

"Add to this the fact that it is women and young people driving the popularity of iPad Mini in the UK and it is clear where the surge in tablet ownership among females and under-35s comes from."

The survey also indicates that 22% of UK-based adults now own a tablet, and that 19% of non-tablet owners are "hot prospects" to buy one soon.

The firm questioned 3,824 over-18s between 8 and 10 May.

Hand-me-downs

YouGov's study matches findings by eMarketer - another research firm - which has predicted that women would become more likely than men to use a tablet at least once a month in the UK this year.

Galaxy Tab 3 Many of Samsung's marketing materials for its Galaxy Tab 3 tablets are targeted at women

Its analysts expect the gap to continue widening until 2016.

Manufacturers see only limited benefit from the second-hand market through app sales, cases and other add-on equipment.

But the consultancy said they should still benefit from a sales boost further down the line.

"We saw something similar in the smartphone market where a lot of the people who received hand-me-downs perceived them as being useful and then wanted higher specs to be able to do more," Bill Fisher, a senior analyst at the firm, told the BBC.

"The tablet market is likely to see a similar trend especially as they become the second screen of choice after the TV.

"So, many of these women are likely to become buyers of the future, particularly if prices continue to fall."

Tony Cripps, an analyst at telecoms research firm Ovum, added that he believed the findings were only to be expected.

"Tablets clearly have considerable appeal outside of the geek community - due to their utility and ease of use - we've also seen many older consumers using them where they may not use PCs or laptops.

"So it's no great surprise to see roughly the same amount of women and men owning them."

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