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The once fast-growing tablet market in Western Europe will tail off as Europeans increasingly choose large-screen smartphones as their primary mobile device, eMarketer predicts.
Western Europe is among the world’s most advanced tablet market, with 56.6% of internet users regularly using one of the devices, eMarketer estimates. Second only to North America in tablet reach among internet users, the Western European tablet market has seen huge growth over recent years: In 2014 it increased by 29.9%. This rapid level of adoption is in part thanks to the digitally advanced and affluent populations of Western Europe, which has meant both internet usage and device ownership are both very high proportionally.
Within the region, the UK leads the tablet pack with 66.2% of internet users expected to use a tablet in 2016. Also ranking high for tablet use among web users are the Netherlands (66.1%), Norway (65.2%), Denmark (62.3%) and Ireland (62.1%). Penetration will be much lower in Italy and Spain, where economic pressures have weighed heavily on many households.
However, despite these high penetration numbers in leading regional markets, tablet usage growth in Western Europe is set to wane and eMarketer predicts that in 2016 it will fall to single digits (9.1%) for the first time. eMarketer attributes this slowdown to several factors, including the growing popularity of large-screen smartphones.
“Many residents of Western Europe who don’t currently own or use a tablet aren’t compelled to start, even as prices are going down. Several factors are contributing to the slowdown in tablet penetration growth. These include a general lack of innovation in tablet devices during the past couple of years, the growing popularity and affordability of phablets, and the dramatic rise of smartphones being used as entertainment devices,” said Karin Von Abrams, senior analyst at eMarketer.
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