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Media Tablet Usage has Increased by 158.6 Percent


Media tablets are the latest consumer electronics device to gain adoption at home and then slowly infiltrate the enterprise IT environment. I first noticed the growing use of tablets by numerous early-adopters at the SXSWi event back in March of this year.

While media tablet devices have only been available for a couple of years, the Apple iPad early-adopters have applied their personal experience and brand evangelism to help drive the rapid increases in ownership and usage.

eMarketer estimates that by the end of 2011, 33.7 million Americans will use a tablet device at least monthly -- that's a rise of 158.6 percent over last year, the year the iPad was released.

Growth will slow to double digits beginning in 2012, but the number of users will rise to nearly 90 million, or 35.6 percent of all internet users, by 2014.

eMarketer's previous media tablet forecasts have focused on unit sales and the total installed base of devices. Current estimates now highlight expanded usage applications, and the device sharing phenomenon. However, they believe that as media tablet adoption continues, less growth will come from sharing and more from replacing older models with new ones.

Eventually, tablets may become more like smartphones -- which typically have a single user, are personalized by individual application interests and needs, and are less likely to be shared.

The iPad, which has clearly led the tablet market since 2010, will continue to do so throughout the forecast period -- although its share will be slowly reduced by competitors, according to the latest eMarketer assessment.

The number of U.S. iPad users will more than double between this year and 2014, from 28 million to 60.8 million. By 2014 iPad users will still account for 68 percent of the overall U.S. tablet audience. That being said, the media tablet addressable market is evolving.

Women currently account for slightly less than half of tablet users, but the gender disparity will continue to shrink. Furthermore, eMarketer estimates that this year, 31.5 percent of tablet users are ages 18 to 34, while 55.5 percent are 35 or older. By 2014, 18- to 34-year-olds will account for 34.8 percent of tablet users, while those ages 35 and up will comprise 49.3 percent of the total.

Usage of media tablets will also increase faster among whites than those of other races and ethnicities, growing from 60.6 percent of total users this year to 65.8 percent by 2014.

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