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Tablet ownership will hit a billion – but a big slowdown is coming in 2015

No less than a billion people across the globe will be using a tablet in 2015, but despite that impressive sounding headline number, the growth of slates is going to slow down over the course of the year.

This is according to the latest hardware forecast from eMarketer, and it echoes Gartner’s recent sentiments, with the analyst firm also predicting a slowdown.

eMarketer reckons that the number of tablet users will grow by 17.1 per cent this year, which is considerably down on last year’s growth of 29.1 per cent – and hugely off the pace of the 54 per cent expansion seen in 2013.

Looking to 2018, growth is predicted to be reduced to 7.9 per cent, and the total number of slate users is expected to reach 1.43 billion.

Essentially, developed markets are starting to reach saturation point with tablets, and emerging markets are not going to be able to pick up that slack. Slates are still seen as luxury items rather than any sort of necessity, eMarketer notes.

Cathy Boyle, senior analyst at eMarketer, commented: “The shared nature of tablets and increased competition from other connected devices reduce the likelihood that the tablet audience will match the size of the smartphone audience worldwide. The most limiting factor is the use case for a tablet: It is not as clear-cut or compelling as a communication tool – the core capability and use case for a smartphone.”