Smartphones Take a Bite Out of the Tablet Market
Don’t expect to see many tablets appearing on Christmas wish lists this year since their popularity is waning. They may be more affordable than ever but by the end of 2017, tablet user penetration among internet users will fall for the first time, according to eMarketer’s worldwide tablet users forecast.
This year, 32.9% of internet users across the globe will use a tablet, vs. 33.2% in 2016. Tablet usage is expected to continue its decline, and the penetration rate among internet users will drop below 31% by 2021. eMarketer’s forecast shows that tablet use in developed markets, in particular, has stabilized, seeing little to no growth. Meanwhile, in emerging markets, the device is struggling to penetrate beyond early adopters.
The drop-off indicates that consumers in developing markets, such as China and India, are keen to use smartphones for most of their online needs. In addition, the demand for messaging services and social media apps such as WeChat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger in these markets has further fueled mobile internet usage.
“The stagnation in tablet usage is directly related to the growth in the popularity of smartphones,” said Cindy Liu, forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “Activities that made tablets popular in the first place, such as watching video, online shopping and buying, and playing games, are shifting to smartphones, which are now bigger and more powerful than they have ever been,” she said.