Tablets hit tipping point

54 percent of US consumers now have a tablet. © Ammentorp Photography/
54 percent of US consumers now have a tablet. © Ammentorp Photography/

More than half of US consumers with an internet connection now own a tablet and while demand is starting to slow, the device still remains high on most people’s future tech shopping lists.

In fact, when asked, 75 percent of all consumers quizzed as part of the Consumer Electronics Association’ latest research into the subject said that a new tablet was a planned future purchase.

And while tablet sales are beginning to slow, what shouldn’t be ignored is how incredibly successful the devices have become in such a short time. The original iPad — which received a lukewarm reception from many tech experts — was only launched in 2010, yet 54 percent of US consumers already have one.

“While interest in tablets remains high, increased competition from large-screen smartphones is having a substantial effect on the U.S. tablet market, since consumers now have more screen size choices than ever,” said Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst at CEA. “Tablet purchase intent remains a positive indicator that the overall market is interested in tablets. Many consumers seem to be waiting to replace their existing devices until the next wave of models arrives this holiday season, while non-owners are still debating whether to buy.”

Chief among these anticipated new arrivals will be the next iPad Air and iPad Mini. Both are expected to launch in October this year and are rumored to feature fingerprint scanners and higher-resolution screens with a special coating to make them easier to use outdoors.

Likewise, Google is expected to unveil at least one addition to its Nexus line of tablets before the end of 2014 with a new 8-inch screen size.

However, as well as highlighting current tablet ownership numbers, the CEA’s research shows that the devices can act as a gateway to other gadgets, particularly television set-top boxes.

Only 12 percent of consumers that don’t own a tablet said that they have a digital media player such as an Apple TV, a Roku or a Chromecast — all of which can work independently or with a PC or smartphone — yet 41 percent of tablet owners have one at home, suggesting that the two devices are becoming complementary.

But as well as set-top boxes, 85 percent of tablet owners also own a laptop (73% have a desktop PC), while 66 percent have a games console such as an Xbox or PlayStation. A more surprising statistic from the study is that ‘only’ 86 percent of tablet owners have a smartphone — suggesting that tablets are proving popular with the youngest and oldest generations, the demographics least likely to use a smartphone.

Leave a Reply