Are tablets still relevant in 2016?
Date: May 10, 2016
First came the smartphone, then came the tablet.
And now there are “Phablets,” the hybrid device that includes the functionality of a phone with the screen size and resolution benefits of tablets.
Do these oversized smartphones mean tablets are no longer relevant? Has the convenience and pragmatic application of phablets and larger smartphones eliminated the need for tablets?
More Popular Than Ever.
With the much anticipated launch of the iPad in 2010, tablet’s quickly integrated into pop culture and 11% of the population within 18 months. Early tablet adopters integrated the devices into their everyday lives, finding them preferable for consuming video, playing games, reading digital books, and simply browsing the web.
In just six years, tablet ownership swelled to more than half of the population, and ownership is projected to continue growing for the next few years, albeit at a slower pace.
Affordability is Key.
A major factor driving rapid adoption is a (relatively) low cost of entry. The average cost of a tablet ranged from $399-$1200 when the technology first launched, but today consumers can get a basic model for as little as $50. This makes tablets an attractive alternative to laptops and higher-priced smartphones (that may also require a cell phone contract) for mass, casual consumers.
The affordability of the tablets has facilitated widespread adoption among children, both in school and at home as a supplemental learning device and recreational toy.
Who Uses Tablets?
Tablet usage is nearly evenly spread across all demographics, however, there is a significant concentration among adults 25-54 (who account for nearly half of all tablet users). Projected tablet user growth is mixed, with relative growth only expected for users ages 55+. All other ages are projected to remain steady (as a percentage) or decline. This is likely the effect of phablets and a greater reliance on larger smartphones over tablets.
Has the Phablet Kill the Tablet?
In 2014, several larger-sized screen smartphones were released (iPhone 6+, Nexus 6P, and the Samsung Galaxy). These oversized phones were dubbed “phablets” – a mash-up of “phone” and “tablet,” said largely in gest and mockery.
According to data released in January 2015 by J.P. Morgan, the average smartphone screen size worldwide rose to 5.1 inches last year, up from 4.6 inches in 2013.
However silly the term may sound, the phablet is impacting the tablet market. The growth rate of tablet users in 2014 (the year the phablet was born) was 12.6%, and it dropped nearly in half to 6.9% in just one year. And, following 2015, the projected growth rate for tablet users will continue to slow to just 2.7% in 2018. Did the phablet kill the tablet? Or was the tablet market already nearing saturation, and the phablet only worked to expedite the decline?
The correlation – or causation – really doesn’t matter. Whatever the case may be,
What Does This Mean for Me?
Mobile and video media are dominating consumption across all demographics, and tablets are simply another gateway into this highly engaged space. Time spent per day on mobile continues to rise and take share of total time spent with media per day – not engaging with consumers in mobile means foregoing as much as 30% of their media interactions.
Whether you’re just getting started in mobile or looking to refine your strategy, we can help. You may want to start by catching up on responsive design and the top trends in mobile in 2016.
We can help.
Contact us to learn more about how you can find, connect with, and convert mobile audiences – on tablets and beyond.
“The Tablet Revolution,” Pew Research Center 25 Oct 2011; eMarketer, 2015