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Tablet devices already have a firm foothold in Western Europe, but penetration is still climbing by double digits annually, according to the most recent tablet user estimates from eMarketer. By the end of the year, an estimated 163.3 million people across the region will have access to a tablet and use it at least once per month—a gain of 11.2% compared with 2014.
Not surprisingly, the EU-5—France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK—are home to the largest numbers of tablet users. The UK will top the list, with an estimated 32.8 million users of all ages this year, followed by Germany and France, with 31.0 million and 24.3 million, respectively. In both Italy and Spain, fewer than 18 million individuals will use a tablet at least monthly in 2015.
The UK will also see wider use of tablets among the online population. Nearly two-thirds (63.8%) of regular internet users in the country will have a tablet in 2015, compared with a regional average of 53.2%. It’s worth noting that despite the substantial numbers of residents using tablets in France and Germany, for example, device penetration among web users there is actually below the average for the region.
There’s a simple explanation for that state of affairs: the Netherlands and most of the Nordic countries. Though Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands count barely 37 million inhabitants between them, all these are highly advanced societies in digital terms, and quite affluent. As a result, internet usage and device ownership are both very high proportionally—and well above the levels seen elsewhere on the Continent.
Looking ahead to the rest of the forecast period, eMarketer expects healthy growth in all Western European markets, though tablet penetration—by any measure—will remain higher in the northern part of the region than in the south. Within four years, more than 40 million new users will get the tablet habit, pushing the regional total past 205 million. And the UK is expected to maintain its top rank in terms of numbers, with more than 40 million regular tablet users in 2019.
eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. 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 available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.
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