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Slate of the nation: US, world tablet sales set for boom

business Updated: Jan 24, 2013 13:31 IST
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Tablet sales may be increasing, particularly in the US, but their popularity is not why e-readers are beginning to fall out of favor.

The latest report on the state of the global tablet market suggests that though the demand for these devices is still increasing and as many as 145 million are expected to sell around the globe this year, their surging popularity is not destroying the e-reader market.

According to ABI Research, the once similarly popular devices are beginning to stagnate in sales simply because everyone who wants one has one. "The facts are that the U.S. market continues to dominate eReader shipments and an aging Baby Boomer population looking to replicate the print reading experience is a waning audience," says senior practice director Jeff Orr. "If other world regions do not successfully organize digital publishing markets, the dedicated eReader market will go away without regard for adoption of tablets and other mobile devices."

However the growing market for tablets is having a positive knock-on effect in terms of reading habits at large.

A YouGov study, commissioned by Newsworks and published on January 17 that examined tablet ownership and use in the UK discovered that of new owners -- that is, those that had received or bought one during the holiday period -- 54 percent of 18-24-year-olds and 60 percent of 25-34-year-olds said they would consume more news, and at 40 percent, 18-24-year-olds were the demographic most likely to download a national newspaper app in order to do so. Nearly half (48%) of all owners said that they had downloaded between six and 40 apps within the first two days of ownership.

The growing tablet market continues to disrupt the traditional PC market, and the launch of a host of new devices, such as Microsoft's Surface Pro in February (which combines the advantages of a tablet with the power and processing of a notebook) will continue to drive sales, particularly in the US, which is expected to account for 50 percent of all tablet sales in 2013.

"The rate of innovation is slowing as tablet vendors augment their product portfolios to meet the needs of market audiences," says Orr. "The late 2012 launches of Apple's iPad mini and a variety of slates based on Intel architecture and new Windows operating systems will only begin to show their progress this year."