Report Says Tablet Fever Will Reach One-Third Of U.S. Adults By 2016

According to Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, the number of tablet owners in the U.S. will grow to new heights, reaching one-third (34.3%) of U.S. adults by 2016. This new report shows an increase from Forrester's previous estimates. Additionally, Forrester believes Europe isn't far behind the US in terms of tablet ownership. By 2016, Forrester expects 105.7 million users will own a tablet in Europe. This number represents 30.4 percent of consumers 16 and older in the European Union.

In all, Forrester is estimating that 112.5 million US adults will own a tablet in four years. If this prediction proves true and you assume a replacement rate of two years, Forrester estimates the industry will sell nearly 293 million tablets in the US from 2010 to 2016.

Since the iPad made its debut more than two years ago, it has largely dominated the tablet market. But while Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and other traditional Android manufacturers have been fighting for their share of the tablet market, manufacturers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble are making the biggest impact. According to Epps, "We believe that Amazon and B&N have actually expanded the addressable market for tablets in the U.S. by launching their tablets at significantly lower price points than the iPad."

Certainly price is a factor that influences tablet purchasing decisions, but Epps also notes that many consumers don't buy a tablet because they don't think they need one. In these situations, services and functionality become the key selling points. "It’s about the services—what you can do with the device, which is why Apple, Amazon, and B&N have succeeded in the US where pure hardware plays have failed," says Epps.