Report: Tablets Now a Mainstay, Sales to Triple By 2017

tabletBased on a survey of more than 5,000 people in Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the US, Forrester Research predicts 905 million people, up from 15 million in 2010, will be using tablets by 2017. Tablets, write Forrester analysts JP Gownder and Michael O’Grady, have “exceeded the status of mass market to become what we can term a ‘mainstay’ device,” and along with the PC and the smartphone, these devices “have become a big three, with tablets forming the third point of the computing troika for both consumers and businesses.”

Due to their portability and the increasing variety of screen sizes, tablet sales will continue to rise as more people use tablets at home and in the workplace.  Tablet sales will grow from $122.1 million in 2012 to $381.2 million in 2017, according to the report.

A majority of the tablets are still being purchased by consumers, whereas enterprise purchases make up 18% of that figure. In addition, while more consumers are buying their first tablet, replacement sales, i.e., purchasing newer tablet models, is making up an increasing proportion of the market, as well.

In North America, 60% of online consumers will own a tablet by 2017, predicts the research firm. The penetration rate in Europe is slightly lower, at 42% and is expected to be below 25% in developing nations by 2017. In contrast, tablets are on their way to reaching a majority status in rapidly growing Asian markets like Singapore and South Korea.

“Tablets, we find, will play an increasingly critical role at work,” Gownder notes in a blog post. “Both company-issued and bring-your-own tablets will become pervasive in workplaces in developed countries or dynamic regions of developing countries, for example, urban China.”

From an advertising perspective, tablets are driving more revenue than smartphones. By the end of this year, tablets will generate $4.9 billion in ad revenue compared to nearly $3.4 billion for smartphones, predicts Deloitte. Advertising on tablets is forecast to grow 50 to 55% in 2014, compared to 30 to 35% for smartphones, according to the consulting firm.

In addition to the different screen sizes, advertisers will also have to respond to the different screen uses. More US consumers, for example, do product searches on a smartphone but are more likely to make purchases on a tablet. Nearly 71 million consumers will make purchases via their tablet this year, compared with 53 million buyers using smartphones, according to eMarketer. In addition, a 2012 survey from the Interactive Advertising Bureau found tablet owners were more likely than smartphones owners to click on ads and purchase a product after seeing an ad.

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