UK tablets soar, but they’re not always used

Tablet uptake in the UK is rapidly increasing, but the devices have yet to become as indispensable as other devices.

UK tablets soar, but they're not always used

Sales of tablets are soaring, but some consumers appear unsure how to best use the devices.

In a wide-ranging report on the state of the digital nation, Ofcom found that tablet ownership had leapt from 2% of UK households in Q1 2011 to 11% by Q1 2012.

According to the research, the trend is expected to continue, with 17% of UK households saying they intended to purchase a tablet in the next year.

Uptake is growing, but tablets remain a marginal use device for many – 41% of owners say they use them every day, but nearly one in ten use them less than once a week and 17% pick them up only once or twice a week.

While 34% of tablet users said that they couldn’t live without the device, 35% disagreed with the statement, a marked difference from mobile phones, where 76% of respondents said they were highly or moderately addicted to their smartphones.

And despite tablets’ portability and purchase motivations such as “being able to use a tablet for entertainment on the go” and “its ease of carrying”, 87% of consumers primarily use their tablet in the home, often while also watching television.

High-speed broadband growth

The report highlighted the importance of mobile communications, both in the way people accessed the web, and the method of keeping in touch.

According to Ofcom, 42% of smartphone users claimed their phone was their most important device for accessing the internet, while texting has overtaken voice on handsets.

Fixed-line broadband was also changing, with significant increases in superfast broadband subscriptions, and eight out of 10 ten homes now connected via a broadband connection.

Ofcom’s figures showed that BT’s Infinity rollout and Virgin’s speed upgrades were having a major impact, with 1.4 million residential and small to medium sized enterprises connections in the UK – 162% more superfast connections than a year previously.

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