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Half of UK Population Now Uses Tablets

UK tablet market approaches saturation point

March 11, 2015

According to new forecasts from eMarketer, the UK tablet market will reach a significant milestone in usage this year when, for the first time ever, the majority of the country’s consumers—50.3% of the population—will use a tablet at least once per month. This figure is expected to rise to almost 60%, or 40.2 million tablet users, by 2019.

UK Tablet Users and Penetration, 2013-2019 (millions, % change, % of internet users and % of population)

However, the dramatic growth the UK tablet audience has experienced in recent years will drop significantly in 2015 as adoption nears saturation. The number of UK tablet users grew 35.2% in 2014, but the growth rate will fall to single digits this year and stay there until the end of our forecast period. Despite this decline, annual gains will remain steady, and eMarketer expects there to be 7.4 million new tablet users in the country between 2015 and 2019.

“The country’s tablet market is reaching a point in its maturity curve that signals a slowdown in user growth. Such a slowdown in the rate of penetration suggests that most of those who want a tablet likely already have one, with more sales than ever likely to be replacements. The tablet boom in the UK is over, but now the replacement cycle looks to have begun in earnest. And with almost three-quarters of the internet population set to be tablet users by 2019, it’s still a market worth being in,” said Bill Fisher, analyst at eMarketer.

UK iPad Users and Penetration, 2013-2019

iPad users still comprise the majority of the UK tablet audience, though Apple’s slice of the pie is getting smaller every year as consumers purchase devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire.

Apple’s iPad will account for less than half of the UK tablet market for the first time in 2016, and its tablet audience share will decline by 6.1 percentage points between 2015 and 2019.

eMarketer bases all of its 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 its 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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