Feature Article

January 28, 2014

Tablet Ownership Rate Increased in 2013

For PC manufacturers, forecasts for the 2014 have been bleak. For example, Gartner expects PC shipments to continue declining throughout the year. On the other hand, tablet growth is expected to continue unabated, which is why a lot of PC manufacturers have been slowly transitioning into tablet manufacturers as well.

Regardless, the obvious result of this is that more people can count themselves as tablet owners these days. In fact, new research from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) states that 44 percent U.S. consumers owned tablets as of December 2013, up six percent from the prior year.

Of course, with tablet sales expected to continue, the number of tablet owners will continue to grow in turn. As such, the CEA expects 70 percent of consumers will purchase tablets “sometime in the future.”

That said, revenue growth in the tablet space has slowed even as unit sales increase, which suggests that the day when tablets fall victim to the same fate as PCs isn’t as far off as some might assume. Still, tablet sales are expected to be a big contributing factor to the total consumer electronics industry’s bottom line this year, bringing in $27.3 billion.

“Tablets had a strong 2013 holiday season, particularly on Black Friday, but are showing the beginning signs of market saturation,” said Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst for CEA, in a statement. “Striking the right chord with consumers’ tablet expectations following the holiday season will be imperative to improving sales, despite slowing penetration during the past year. Consumers are looking for competitive pricing and simplicity, now that several manufacturers are in the mix.”

Going forward, manufacturers should note that smaller screened tablets, sized seven to eight inches, are seeing growth, while larger tablets, with screens sized 8.9 to 10.1 inches, are declining somewhat. Indeed, smaller tablet ownership increased from 25 percent in June 2013 to 32 percent in December, while larger-screened devices dropped from 73 percent ownership to 68 percent in the same period.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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