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In the UK, Women Take the Lead on Tablets

Age groups that lagged in tablet uptake will begin to grow their user bases faster

The UK tablet audience will grow significantly through 2017, according to a new eMarketer report, “UK Tablet Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates.” As newer, lower-priced tablet models become available and the market matures, the UK will see demographic shifts in uptake.

eMarketer expects that 19.7 million people in the country will use tablets regularly this year, totaling nearly one-third of the population. Adults ages 25 to 54 will be the core of the UK tablet population in 2013 and beyond. Combined, users in this range will account for 56.8% of the total audience this year. The largest single group of users between now and 2017 will be 25- to 34-year-olds, with 4 million members this year and 6.6 million by the end of the forecast period.

Younger groups, who were previously unable to afford tablets, will be more likely to purchase the devices as more manufacturers move into the cheaper tablet market and prices go down. Furthermore, older adults are likely to have an easier time justifying a tablet purchase now that costs have started to decrease.

eMarketer expects that more children under the age of 12 will use tablets than teens between 2013 and 2017. While tablets such as the nabi 2 and LeapFrog’s LeapPad have been specifically targeted at kids, it is also common for children to regularly use tablets belonging to their parents. In addition, teens tend to prefer smartphones over tablets.

The number of tablet users in the oldest and youngest age groups—children, teens and adults 55 and older—will expand the fastest through 2017. While these age groups will claim small shares of the total UK tablet audience individually, combined they will represent nearly one-third of all users this year.

And this year, for the first time, women will outnumber men on tablets. As tablet use has expanded beyond early adoption, the gender makeup of the audience is becoming more reflective of the country’s overall population.

eMarketer estimates that there will be 9.95 million female and 9.75 million male tablet users in the UK in 2013—equivalent to 50.5% and 49.5% of tablet users, respectively. Penetration rates among the respective genders will differ by just 1.4 percentage points this year, with males being slightly more likely to use tablets than females.

The number of female tablet users is predicted to grow more rapidly than the number of male users through 2016. In 2017, the UK tablet audience is expected to be 52% female and 48% male.


The full report, “UK Tablet Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates” also answers these key questions:

  • How will the UK tablet, iPad and ereader audiences grow between 2013 and 2017?
  • How will the launch of new tablet models affect iPad sales over the next four years?
  • How do age and gender influence tablet usage?
  • How will the tablet market’s growth between 2013 and 2017 affect the UK ereader user base?

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


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