Tablet ownership in Western Europe is set to quadruple in the next five years as the percentage of online consumers to own a tablet increases from 14% in 2012 to 55% in 2017, according to a new Forrester forecast based on a survey of more than 13,000 respondents from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. The dramatic growth follows what was a pivotal year for tablets; ownership doubled in 2012, and one in seven online Europeans now owns a tablet. Today, tablets are most popular with 18- to 24-year-olds, with one in four now owning a tablet. 

“Tablets are social devices mostly used in the digital home,” states Thomas Husson, Forrester analyst and co-author of the new data report. “Companies that want to exploit tablet opportunities need to understand they require a differentiated approach from smartphones.” Thomas blogs about the report here.

Co-author Reineke Reitsma, a research director at Forrester, writes in her blog post: “Our data shows that tablets have found their sweet spot: 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.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • The living room (where 62% access the Internet on their tablet) and the bedroom (where 45% access the Internet on their tablet) are the only places where tablet owners choose their tablet over their smartphone.
  • Tablet owners are not precious about their devices: Of those that have a spouse/partner, 63% share their tablet with them; one-third of parents share their tablet with their children. This makes tablets a far more social device than smartphones, which are much more personal and intimate.

The new report, “The European Tablet Landscape,” is available to Forrester Technographics® clients here.