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iPad Loses Its Grip on the UK Tablet Market

UK tablet usage will see modest growth in the coming years

This year, for the first time ever, most people in the UK who use a tablet won’t be using an iPad, according to the latest estimates from eMarketer. In all, over 26 million UK consumers, or 41.1% of the total UK population, will use a tablet at least once per month this year. This figure includes individuals who own their own tablet and use it monthly, as well as people who share a tablet with family members or others and also use the device on a monthly basis.

Since its introduction in 2010, the iPad has dominated this segment—and as recently as the end of 2013 accounted for 57.0% of all tablet users in the country. This is set to change this year as tablet ownership expands further beyond early adopters and into the general population, which is turning to lower-priced alternatives such as Tesco’s Hudl and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. In 2012, the iPad saw phenomenal growth of 125.0%, but eMarketer forecasts that this year, the growth rate for iPad users will drop dramatically to 3.1% and will stay in single digits through 2018.

This year, iPad users will make up 49.0% of the UK tablet audience, a figure that will continue to diminish throughout the forecast period as other devices make up the slack.

Driven by the popularity of the iPad, UK tablet usage saw explosive growth over the past few years; however, this too is expected to slow over the forecast period. eMarketer predicts moderate growth of 19.9% in overall tablet usage this year, down from 56.0% last year. By 2018, tablet usage will be up only 5.8% year over year.

But that’s growth over a much larger base. By 2016, eMarketer expects half of the overall UK population and about two-thirds of internet users to have access to tablets.

eMarketer bases all of our forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all our forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

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