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Exploring the Media Tablet Adoption within Europe


Some of the largest traditional PC manufacturers reported record revenue and profit declines in the last quarter, as desktop and notebook sales continue to slide downward. Clearly, the bright outlook for the media tablet upside will not benefit those vendors that failed to grasp the significance of this market transition.

Moreover, some regions of the world will present greater challenges than others. Take Europe, as an example. According to the latest assessment by eMarketer, two countries in the EU-5 that are being impacted by the dramatic financial turmoil in the region are understandably posting the slowest adoption of tablets.

Although tablet growth in each country was above 100 percent during 2011, and users will double again this year, that's considered minimal progress when compared to their peers in Western Europe -- according to the latest estimates by eMarketer.

France grew their tablet user base by 173 percent in 2011. In 2012, Germany's base will grow 149 percent, after growing 144 percent last year.

Although the UK will not post the highest growth in either year, it will still outpace Italy and Spain -- despite already having the highest raw number of users and the highest tablet penetration.

eMarketer believes that lower-priced tablets will boost uptake somewhat in the depressed southern European countries. In 2013, Italy and Spain will see tablet users grow by 56 percent -- that's the fastest growth among the EU-5.

Italy will rise from 6.3 million users in 2012 to 9.8 million in 2013, and Spain will similarly jump from 6 million users this year to 9.3 million next year.

That will be enough to grow share of the market in Italy and Spain by 2 percentage points in 2013, to account for 33.7 percent of total users in the EU-5 -- but that's still down from their 2010 share of 38.4 percent.

There's one tablet user metric by which the countries are actually among the front-runners in the EU-5. Italy and Spain will post the second- and third-highest tablet user penetration, respectively, in terms of internet users this year.

In 2013, they will be number one and number two in the region. According to eMarketer, they will maintain that ranking throughout the forecast period.

Ranking overall user adoption, however, can be complicated by current usage trends. Meaning, tablets tend to be shared among several users within households. So, while one person may actually own the device, it is likely that other people in the household will use it regularly.

That being said, eMarketer believes that media tablet sharing is less likely in those European countries with higher income levels -- such as Germany and the UK.

Therefore, even if market penetration levels in Italy and Spain indicate that they lead in tablet usage among all internet users, the total number of devices owned are likely higher in the UK and Germany.

Furthermore, the relatively low internet penetration in Italy and mid-level penetration in Spain help to drive up tablet penetration among internet users. Relative to the internet user population as a whole, tablet penetration in Spain will rank second in 2012, while Italy will apparently rank last.

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