A new forecast from eMarketer predicts the number of U.S. tablet users will more than double this year from 33.7 million to nearly 70 million, or about 29% of the country’s Internet users. Responsible for most of that growth is the iPad, which remains the dominant tablet model, with more than three-quarters of the market in 2012.
The latest tablet findings were released Monday, as Apple launched the latest version of its iOS operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.
The eMarketer report made the following projections:
- iPad users will grow 90% this year to 53.2 million, down from 144% last year.
- iPad growth rate is expected to continue declining to 12% in 2015, when the number of iPad users will have reached 90.8 million.
- iPad market share will gradually decline from a peak of 88% in 2010 to 68% in 2015 as competing devices gain some ground.
eMarketer estimates that tablets will command the following penetration rates based on the total U.S. populaton and internet users:
- 16.8% of the total U.S. population are expected to use an iPad at least once per month in 2012, up from 8.9% in 2011.
- 22.2% of total U.S. internet users in 2012 will use an iPad, up from 12.1% in 2011.
- 35.3% of total U.S. internet users in 2015 will have an iPad.
eMarketer estimates the following tablet penetration rates based on total internet users:
- 51.9% of internet users -- or 133.5 million Americans -- will have a tablet of some kind by 2015.
- 29% of internet users will have a tablet of some kind, more than double the 14.5% in 2011.
eMarketer made the following tablet penetration rates based on demographic groups:
- 54% of tablet users in 2012 will be men, but the gender split is expected to be roughly even in three years.
- 26.2% of tablet users in 2012 will be Asian.
- 24.0% of tablet users in 2012 will be Hispanics.
- 21.4% of tablet users in 2012 will be whites.
- 21.5% of tablet users in 2012 will be blacks.
U.S. tablet ownership growth rates by age group for the years 2011 through 2015 will be as follows:
Data released last month by IDC showed tablets shipments worldwide hit 17.4 million, up 120% from the year-earlier period, but 1.2 million shy of the technology research firm’s projection. Shipments of the Kindle Fire in particular fell sharply, dropping 62% from the prior quarter to 0.8 million units.
Apple’s relatively steady performance to start the year helped expand its share in the tablet market -- from a 54.7% share of shipments globally in the fourth quarter to 68% in the first quarter.
COMMENTARY: More parents began purchasing tablets for their teenagers, pre-teens and younger children as an educational devices during 2011. This trend will continue during 2012 through 2015. Tablets are much smaller and lighter than laptops and the youngsters take to them like young ducklings do to water. Apple has made no bones that it is interested in dominating the educational market and is providing numerous mobile apps to help teachers develop educational materials for their young students.