Tablet ownership in Western Europe is set to quadruple in the next five years: The percentage of European online consumers who own a tablet will increase from 14% in 2012 to 55% in 2017, according to the Forrester Research World Tablet Adoption Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global). This dramatic growth follows what was a pivotal year for tablets: Ownership doubled in 2012, and one in seven online Europeans now owns a tablet. The recently published Forrester report “The European Tablet Landscape” draws on our Technographics® data and looks at the profile of European tablet owners and their usage patterns. We found that:

  1. Unsurprisingly, tablet owners are tech-savvy. Today, tablets are most popular with 18- to 24-year-olds, with one in four online consumers in this age group now owning a tablet. Of all tablet owners, a high 45% state that they “like technology” and 36% agree that “technology is important for me.”
  2. Income is a driver . . . for now. About 24% of high-income European online consumers have a tablet, compared with 15% of online low-income consumers. But the growing variety of tablets and form factors as well as more competitive pricing will make tablets affordable for a wider range of consumers.
  3. The tablet is the go-to device in the home. The tablet is definitely a device on the side: Many tablet owners also own a laptop and a smartphone. European online consumers rely on smartphones to access the Web and stay in touch when out and about, but they power up the tablet once in the comfort of their living room. Also, two-thirds of tablet owners share their tablet with partners, co-workers, children, or friends.

Our data shows that tablets have found their sweetspot: Bigger than a smartphone and more portable than a laptop, they have bridged the gap between these two devices, allowing consumers to entertain and inform themselves. With uptake among European online consumers currently at 14%,we are still in the early-adoption phase of tablet ownership. With the expected growth of tablets in the years ahead in Europe, we expect the profile of tablet owners to change significantly over time as my colleague Thomas Husson points out on his blog.

Technographics clients who want to know more can download the full report here.