According to new research from eMarketer, tablets are losing the popularity battle. It appears that user penetration of the devices may be dropping for the first time, based on the research firm’s worldwide tablet user forecast.
In 2017, 32.9% of Internet users worldwide used a tablet devices compared to 33.2% back in 2016. That’s a slight drop, but tablet usage is expected to decline further whilst penetration rates among internet users will decrease to under 31% by 2021.
The eMarketer prediction highlights that tablet device usage in developed markets has stabilized with little growth happening. At the same time, tablets aren’t managing to penetrate emerging markets where smartphones are being given preference.
Indeed, users in developing nations such as China and India are focusing on smartphones to meet their online needs. Here, messaging apps such as WeChat and WhatsApp have fueled mobile Internet usage. There just doesn’t appear to be a great need for tablet devices.
“The stagnation in tablet usage is directly related to the growth in the popularity of smartphones,” explained 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.”