Tablets Find the Sweet Spot
Strong ownership and buying intent continuesSeptember 26, 2012 By Kevin Tillmann, CEA Senior Research Analyst
At first, I really just didn’t get it. When Apple released its iPad in 2010, I already owned a laptop and a smartphone. These two devices allowed me a significant amount of flexibility for work and entertainment, and I couldn’t grasp how a third device, something in between, would gain any traction in my computing routine.
I thought to myself about the burdens of carrying around yet another device that I needed to charge and was bigger and heavier than my phone. I also considered how it was more fragile than a laptop and that it didn’t have a physical keyboard for typing documents. With all of those caveats, I thought, who in their right mind would buy a tablet?
Quite a few people actually, including myself. I now use it daily.
Fast forward to the second half of 2012 and tablet PC sales continue at a torrid pace. According to CEA’s recently published Consumer Outlook on Tablets report, ownership stands at 28% of U.S. online consumers as of July. In just over two years since the initial iPad release, nearly three in ten U.S. adults own a tablet, an astonishing feat for a new CE device category. U.S. shipments of tablets are forecasted to increase to 68.5 million units by the end of 2012 and a whopping 105.6 million units in 2013, according to CEA’s July 2012 U.S. CE Sales & Forecast.
The In-Between Device
The thing that really struck me the first time I used a tablet was just how sharp the screen was. I could browse full-size web pages with ease and didn’t have to zoom and scroll around just to read text. I could view videos and pictures on a larger handheld device that didn’t make me squint like when viewing the screen on my smartphone. Compared to my laptop, with its full-size keyboard and extra weight, holding a device that was mostly just a large screen was a revelation. I could watch movies (in HD, of course) practically anywhere, and that’s where I started to understand why tablets were poised to become a big hit and where consumers would get some very fun and practical use.