Ever since Apple introduced the iPad there has been a split in the tablet market between Wi-Fi only tablets and those with 3G or 4G capabilities. Generally tablets with data are the more expensive versions of their counterparts. Though it might be assumed that customers who purchase the more expensive versions plan on using their tablet with a mobile provider’s data plan, a new report shows that this isn’t the case for nearly half of them.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) today reported that only 49% of U.S. owners of tablets with data capabilities take advantage of the feature with a data plan. This is a subset of the 29% of tablet owners who have a tablet with data capabilities. Of those consumers who do have a data plan, over half of them say they pay for their tablet data plan separately from any other data plans they have.
“There is a disconnect between consumers that own a 3G/4G-enabled tablet and the consumers that feel the need to pay for the data connectivity,” said Tara Hutton, director of market research at CEA. “As we head into the holiday season with excitement around recent product announcements, tablets will garner strong sales and will present the opportunity to sell the benefits of cellular connectivity to consumers.”
The CEA survey also found that consumers have been holding off on tablet buying for the holiday season. Of those surveyed in September, 41% owned tablets – nearly the same percentage that was seen in March (40%). Looking ahead to the holidays, tablets are predicted to be the most-wanted gift of the season, and 26% of those surveyed plan on buying a tablet before the end of the year.