UK tablet use grows despite predicted slow in iPad sales

According to new data, UK tablet use has grown by nearly 40 per cent in comparison to last year, despite a predicted slow in iPad sales over the year.

Market research firm, eMarketer, estimates that nearly 20 million UK residents use a tablet at least once a month, up from 14.1 million last year. This figure isn’t restricted to tablet owners alone, but includes the users who share a device between household members.

The firm predicts that by 2017, 52 per cent of the UK population will have access to a tablet, a figure expected to mirror the same percentage of users in the US.

However, the rising popularity of tablets will be boosted by the introduction of lower price tablet options such as the Google Nexus 7, HP Slate 7 or Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

The competition from cheaper or more cost effective tablets will have an adverse effect on iPad sales, predicts eMarketer. Up 125 per cent last year, iPad users are predicted to reach 11.6 million users this year equating to 18.2 per cent of the UK population or 59 per cent of tablet users in general.

However, by 2017 that figure is expected to drop to 40 per cent due to increased competition in the tablet market, despite rumoured iPad mini 2 and iPad 5 release dates on the horizon.

The recent surge in tablet use was due to the launch of the original iPad in 2010 and since then its various iterations including the iPad mini have dominated the slate market.

Smartphone use and the increased comfort with accessing the internet using mobile devices will only continue to boost the tablet use percentage, especially as lower priced smartphones and tablets come on sale.

Interestingly though, eMarketer defines a tablet as any touchscreen device with a colour display anywhere between 5-inches and 14-inches, but excludes any devices capable of making cellular voice calls.

This then could include laptop/tablet hybrids like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 and Asus Vivo Tab, but won’t take large screen smartphones like the 5-inch Sony Xperia Z, 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or huge Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 due this month.