Tablets are becoming ubiquitous—and no wonder. Unlike laptop computers, they’re light and relatively compact. Tablets also perform almost all of the same functions a smartphone does but on a wider screen. This larger screen is friendlier for using movies, email, word processing and other apps. In fact, our Kensington.com survey of 503 Americans shows that many tablet users are so comfortable with their devices that they bring them along for bathroom trips. Heck, why not? Reading on the toilet has always been popular—even after the completion of necessary business. The doors are closed, the locks are fastened, and it’s relatively peaceful.
So where exactly do respondents of our survey use their iPads and other tablets? Here are the answers, with a few percentage points both ways for the margin of error.
- Home: 50.1 percent
- Traveling: 13.9 percent
- At work: 10.5 percent
- On the toilet: 10.1 percent
- On a night out: 2 percent
- None of the above: 38 percent
So, about 10 percent of tablet owners use their tablets while they are on the toilet. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Checking email or playing Plants vs. Zombies certainly beats deciphering bathroom tile patterns for the hundredth time.
Our survey also broke down the data according to gender and found that men are more likely than women to use their tablets on the toilet. About 12.4 percent of male tablet users tote their devices into the throne room compared with 7.9 percent of women. This is even more interesting because men usually sit down only for a certain ablutionary function. Caveat: 8.6 percent of survey respondents who checked that they are toilet tablet enthusiasts did not specify their gender. This figure is even larger than the 7.9 percent who noted they were women.
When the data is broken down by age, toilet tablet use falls dramatically among respondents older than 34 years.
- 18-24 age group: 25 percent use their tablets on the toilet.
- 25-34 age group: 26.1 percent practice toilet tablet use.
- 35-44 age group: 4.9 percent rock their tablets on the toilet.
- 45-54 age group: 1.3 percent practice toilet tablet use.
- 55-64 age group: 1.3 percent use their tablets on the toilet.
- 65+ age group: 1.6 percent practice toilet tablet use.
- Age unknown: 7.2 percent rock their tablets on the toilet.
Interestingly enough, it seems that rural Americans are more likely to use their tablets on the toilet (20 percent) versus suburban Americans (6.8 percent) and urban Americans (11.1 percent), with unknowns making up 8.3 percent.
About a quarter of respondents earning $75,000 to $99,000 said they used their tablets on the toilet—the largest proportion of any income group. This could be because they are more connected to work at all times. About 10 percent of people who make up to $74,000 use their tablets on the potty.
Here is the data broken down by income.
- People earning $0 to 24,000: 10 percent use their tablets on the toilet.
- People earning $25,000 to $49,000: 9.1 percent practice toilet tablet use.
- People earning $50,000 to $74,000: 9.6 percent use their tablets on the toilet.
- People earning $75,000 to $99,000: 23.5 percent rock their tablets on the toilet.
- People earning $100,000 to $149,000: 0 percent use their tablets on the toilet. This isn’t enough data to make any firm conclusions.
Just for kicks, here is some toilet tablet data from another survey. In June 2011, Staples Advantage looked at 200 tablet owners and found that about 35 percent use their tablets in the toilet. This seems a bit puzzling; why would the number of toilet tablet users be higher in 2011 whereas the Kensington.com survey in 2014 shows that figure at 10 percent? One possible interpretation is that Staples’ survey was skewed toward higher figures because the poll covered employees from a wide variety of businesses. By contrast, the Kensington.com survey asked Americans regardless of income, geographical region, age and employment status to participate. Another interpretation is that because tablets were more of a novelty in 2011 than they are now, they were hauled to the bathroom then with more frequency. Now people are fine taking a smartphone instead of a tablet into the bathroom.
Explore our other findings including which gender shops more on their tablet, and whether or not we say good morning to our tablets or partners first.