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Tablet Demand Still Growing: CEA

Arlington, Va. – Tablet ownership in the U.S. is expected to reach half of all households in the next 12 to 18 months according to Consumer Electronics Association research.

Four in 10 (41 percent) online U.S. consumers indicated they own a tablet, roughly on par with ownership rates reported in March 2013 (40 percent), according to  CEA’s “Consumer Outlook on Tablets: Q3 2013” report, which examines trend information on consumer behavior and sentiment from April through June 2013.

Following a dip in the first quarter, tablet purchase intent appears to have rebounded. Four in 10 (40 percent) online U.S. adults said they plan to purchase a tablet computer within the next two years, a 33 percent jump from March 2013. Looking even further ahead, nearly three in four (72 percent) consumers said they expect to purchase a tablet at some point in the future.

“Tablets faced a relatively stagnant second quarter in 2013, after several consecutive quarters of strong growth,” said Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst, market research, CEA. “However, an increase in consumers’ purchase intent indicates optimism. Many consumers are waiting for the next generation of models to upgrade their existing devices.”

Among the most popular tablet activities this quarter is playing games, which moved into the top spot, replacing social networking, for primary use based on online conversations. Watching movies remained second, messaging moved to third, while social networking and shopping round out the top five most popular tablet activities as consumers continue to use these devices primarily for entertainment.

“With nearly half of U.S. households expected to own a tablet in the next 12 to 18 months, tablets are undeniably impacting how consumers view and enjoy digital content,” said Tillmann. “As we move through 2013, anticipation runs high this year for the next wave of tablets to include new and innovative features. Striking the right chord with consumers’ expectations will be imperative to resuming the growth trends we’ve seen prior to this quarter’s purchase stagnation.”

According to CEA’s semiannual “U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts” released last week, sales of mobile connected devices, namely smartphones and tablets, continue to drive growth for the entire CE industry. U.S. unit tablet shipments are estimated to reach 87.1 million by the end of 2013, a 45 percent increase from 2012, while tablet revenues are estimated to reach $27.3 billion in 2013, a 9 percent increase from 2012.

Beginning in September, CEA will launch a new biannual tracking report on smartphones to examine trend information on consumer behavior and sentiment regarding these devices.

The “Consumer Outlook on Tablets” reports are released on the last Monday of the month following the close of each quarter. The series of reports was designed and formulated by CEA market research. The complete study is available free to CEA member companies at Non-members may purchase the study for $399 at the CEA store.