The research firm predicted that this year there will be 1.06 billion tablet users, more than double the figure recorded three years ago, with growth set to continue in the coming years but at a slower rate.
eMarketer estimates that the number of tablet users worldwide will reach 1.20 billion in 2016, 1.32 billion in 2017 and 1.43 billion in 2018.
“The key takeaway is that growth in the global tablet-using population will slow dramatically in 2015 and continue to taper off,” said eMarketer.
“The total number of tablet users is expected to increase by 17.1% this year. While this figure is healthy, it pales in comparison with year-over-year gains of 54.1% in 2013 and 29.1% in 2014. By 2018, the growth rate for new tablet users worldwide will be just 7.9%.”
The research firm predicted that as developed markets mature, tablet growth in emerging markets is not expected to “pick up much slack.”
It also noted that tablets continue to be perceived as luxury items and that they face increased competition from smartphones and connected devices including phablets, wearables and connected TVs.
eMarketer tips China to be the world leader in terms of tablet users in 2015, with more than 328 million users. The US is tipped to come second with 156 million tablet users this year, followed by India with 40.4 million users, while Brazil is due to overtake the UK to take fourth place with 34.7 million users.
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