Tablet Sales to Pick Up Later This Year, Shows Analyst Survey

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It's taken only a few short years since the debut of the iPhone for U.S. smartphone adoption to begin to slow, and now it appears that tablets are saturating the U.S. market just as fast.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) this week revealed its market research outlook for the tablet market in the coming quarter. The report shows that 41% of "online U.S. consumers" already own a tablet. A further 40% intend to purchase a tablet within the next two years, and 72% plan to purchase a tablet at some point.

Many U.S. consumers appear to be waiting until the fall to make their tablet purchases, though. New tablet lineups from Amazon and Apple are expected for the holiday season. Google just this month unveiled its refreshed Nexus 7 tablet.

“Tablets faced a relatively stagnant second quarter in 2013, after several consecutive quarters of strong growth,” said Kevin Tillmann, a senior research analyst at CEA. “However, an increase in consumers’ purchase intent indicates optimism. Many consumers are waiting for the next generation of models to upgrade their existing devices.”

The CEA report also covered how U.S. consumers are using their tablets. Gaming has now surpassed social networking as the top tablet activity. Watching movies and messaging were the second and third most popular tablet pastimes, with social networking and shopping also making the top five.

“With nearly half of U.S. households expected to own a tablet in the next 12 to 18 months, tablets are undeniably impacting how consumers view and enjoy digital content,” said Tillmann. “As we move through 2013, anticipation runs high this year for the next wave of tablets to include new and innovative features. Striking the right chord with consumers’ expectations will be imperative to resuming the growth trends we’ve seen prior to this quarter’s purchase stagnation.”

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