The percentage of adults owning one or the other of the devices increased from 10 percent to 19 percent between mid-December and early January, figures released by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Live project showed.
Much of the increase was due to Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble's Nook Tablet being introduced at considerably cheaper prices than other tablets. Some versions of the Kindle and Nook and other readers fell below $100, the Pew survey found.
The increase in ownership of tablet computers was especially apparent among people with higher levels of education and people living in households earning more than $75,000, it found.
A pre-holiday survey was conducted among 2,986 people age 16 and older between Nov. 16 and Dec. 21, 2011, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The post-holiday data combined results of two surveys, one conducted Jan. 5-8 among 1,000 adults age 18 and older and another conducted Jan. 12-15 of 1,008 adults. The combined surveys had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.