Tablet manufacturers, we’ve got good news and bad news.
In 2015, for the first time, there will be more than one billion tablet users worldwide, predicts eMarketer.
However, the marketing insights firm also forecasts a dramatic slow-down in tablet usage growth this year, with no signs of a speedy recovery.
There are expected to be 1.06 billion tablet users in 2015, with ‘tablet users’ defined as “individuals of any age who use a tablet at least once per month”. This means worldwide tablet usage has more than doubled in three years.
2013 saw a dramatic upturn in usage – an increase of 54.1%, amounting to 0.7 billion users. In 2014, usage grew by a still-impressive 29.1%.
This year, however, growth in tablet usage is expected to drop again to just 17.1%, slowing to a snail-like 7.9% by 2018.
And – get this – eMarketer describes its predictions as a “conservative outlook”.
The research firm puts the waning interest in tablets down to saturation in developed markets. Developing markets are not expected to pick up the slack, as they are already under the spell of other mobile devices like smartphones, connected TVs and phablets.
Cathy Boyle, senior analyst at eMarketer, said: “The shared nature of tablets and increased competition from other connected devices reduce the likelihood that the tablet audience will match the size of the smartphone audience worldwide.
“The most limiting factor is the use case for a tablet: It is not as clear-cut or compelling as a communication tool—the core capability and use case for a smartphone.”
In related news, eMarketer also predicts Brazil will overtake the UK to become the fourth-largest market for tablets.
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