Global Tablet Users ‘To Top One Billion’ In 2015

elderly woman using tablet ©racorn /

eMarketer figures reveal UK will slip to fifth biggest tablet user base this year

The number of people using tablets around the world is set to hit the one billion figure this year, according to new research.

Figures from eMarketer predict that 15 percent of the world’s population will use a tablet in 2015, more than double the amount from just three years ago, and marking an incredible rise for the device.

The figure is also set to keep on growing over the next few years, reaching 1.43 billion by 2018, despite year on year growth beginning to taper off (with just a 17.1 percent growth in 2015) as the devices start to become commonplace.

David-Cameron-tablet dashboardSoaring

eMarketer says the eventual slowdown is due to developed markets maturing in terms of  their growth, exacerbated by increasing competition to the tablet market from smartphones, phablets, wearables, connected TVs and dedicated gaming devices. Price could also prove a factor, as tablets are still perceived as a luxury item in many markets.

Major growth has been particularly seen in Brazil and Indonesia, which will both jump into the top five countries in terms of tablet usage. China will be the world leader in terms of tablet use in 2015, with 328 million residents accessing these devices at least once per month—nearly one-third of the world’s total. The US is a distant second, with fewer than half the number China has, with India and the UK just behind.

However, the UK will lose its spot in the top five over the next few years, as Brazil, Japan and Indonesia push it down from fourth place in 2015 to seventh by 2018.

“The shared nature of tablets and increased competition from other connected devices reduce the likelihood that the tablet audience will match the size of the smartphone audience worldwide,” said Cathy Boyle, senior analyst at eMarketer.

“The most limiting factor is the use case for a tablet: It is not as clear-cut or compelling as a communication tool—the core capability and use case for a smartphone.”

eMarketer’s figures contrast slightly with those released by analyst firm Gartner earlier this week, which anticipated a growth in tablet sales of only eight percent through 2015.

Following a supposed collapse in the tablet market last year, the firm expect 233 million such devices will be shipped this year, a figure which it is predicted will rise to 259 million in 2016.

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