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Explosive UK Tablet Market Fosters New Behaviors

More users mean increased content consumption, tcommerce transactions

According to eMarketer estimates, 9.8 million UK consumers used a tablet device to access the web in 2012, representing growth of 140% over 2011. Sharp increases will continue through 2016, when there will be 23.2 million tablet users in the UK.

But the makeup of the tablet market is far from settled and will change rapidly over the next few years, according to a new eMarketer report, “The UK Tablet Market: Smaller Screens and Bigger Audiences.”

eMarketer expects Apple to continue to dominate the tablet market, although its share will fall. Indeed, eMarketer’s 2012 estimate represents a 10 percentage point drop in share compared to 2011, when it was 82%. And Apple’s share will dip to 55% by 2016, according to eMarketer’s forecast.

Initial attempts by other tablet makers to compete with the iPad largely failed. But the proflierating market for mini tablets (generally regarded as tablets with a screen size of around 7 inches) is a different story. Apple launched its iPad mini worldwide on November 2, 2012. Although this was hot on the heels of Amazon’s Kindle Fire launch in the UK, it was a year behind in terms of the global submarket.

The mini tablet is also helping kids become a sizeable audience for tablets. According to Ofcom, the penetration of tablets among UK children ages 5 to 15 grew from just 2% in 2011 to 9% in 2012.

As tablet and mini tablet uptake rises, the devices are becoming the primary companion screen alongside the television. This trend is particularly strong in the UK. In an April 2012 study by InMobi and Mobext, 72% of UK tablet users indicated they used their tablet while watching TV; this compared with 57% who used their laptop/PC, and 48% who used their smartphone.

Tcommerce is also making major inroads in the UK, accounting for a significant piece of mcommerce transactions. In March 2012, RichRelevance found that the the iPad accounted for a massive 82% of all UK mcommerce revenue for the first quarter of the year.

With the rapid proliferation of more affordable mini tablets, the demographic for tablet ownership is likely to change. It remains an open question whether this more mainstream market will adopt similar attitudes toward tcommerce. Regardless, an increased number of overall tablet users will certainly mean increased usage.


The full report, “The UK Tablet Market: Smaller Screens and Bigger Audiences” also answers these key questions:

  • How large is the UK tablet market and how fast is it growing?
  • What is the makeup of the UK tablet market and what is shaping this landscape?
  • Who are the main tablet users and how are they using their devices?
  • What is the potential for “tcommerce” in the UK?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


Check out today’s other articles, “Web Development Top B2B Priority in 2013” and “US Ahead of Western Europe in QR Code Usage.”

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