In recent months, there has been evidence of the once booming tablet market slowing down with year-on-year sales declining for the first time ever in Q4 2014 after a straight four years of massive growth, according to a study by the International Data Corporation.
According to eMarketer’s latest report on tablet usage, however, the worldwide tablet using audience is still on track to hit one billion users in 2015; this is compared to 660 million just two years ago in 2013.
According to the report, tablet users are defined as people that will use a tablet at least monthly, including people who own tablets, as well as those who use devices belonging to a friend, family member or other source. The report goes on to say that by 2019, 1.51 billion people around the globe will use tablets monthly.
Asia Pacific will be home to the largest number of tablet users in the world, with 458.7 million expected this year. The region will pass the half billion mark in 2016 and boast more than three quarters of a billion tablet users by 2019. Again, there is more to this statistic than meets the eye because while Asia Pacific will have the largest number of users, tablet penetration in the region is below average.
In terms of sheer figures, China has the largest tablet market with 276.5 million users, followed by the US with 158.8 million and India with 44.4 million.
Penetration is an important figure to look out for. It shows, as a whole, how a certain kind of technology has made inroads into a region. It helps software and hardware manufacturers understand not only the potential market size but also the market type and concentration, allowing them to better focus their efforts both at reinforcing existing strongholds with more high-end tech while at the same time creating inroads into virgin territory.
As far as tablet penetration goes, its no surprise that North America comes out on top followed by Western Europe. According to eMarketer, “These are the only two regions where more than three in 10 Internet users have regular access to tablets.”
What this means then, is that by and large, the tablet world has reached a point of maturity. In half a decade since the original iPad was launched, around a sixth of the world’s population will have used a tablet and they are quickly becoming the go-to device for activities like gaming and video watching.
In the future, however, with things like bendable displays and increasing specs, could tablets supplant laptops and PCs?
Perhaps, but for now, one thing is for sure, tablet adoption rate in key markets like the US and Western Europe are declining due to market saturation, which means that, in the next few years, what happens in Asia Pacific will probably dictate how the tablet world will move and shake.