Apple dominates UK tablet sales

Almost three-quarters of tablet sales in the UK have been taken by Apple’s market-leading iPad, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTec, the data provider.

Apple’s nearest competitor, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, accounts for just 5.9 per cent in comparison, underscoring the dominance of the iPad, which is already in a second incarnation following its launch in 2010.

More than 3.6m people in the UK now own a tablet, the internet-connected devices that tend to bridge the gap between a smartphone and laptop, or about 7.6 per of the population. This marks a threefold increase from November 2010, when Kantar last compiled data on the sector, which showed the take-up of tablets in the UK at about 2.8 per cent of the population.

According to the report on the sector by Kantar to be published this week, the dominance of Apple’s tablet is likely to continue, with just more than half of potential tablet owners saying they would buy an iPad over the next year. The Samsung Galaxy range is the next choice, with just 6 per cent of consumers planning to buy the tablet.

Even so, Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director of Kantar Worldpanel ComTec, said that there was still potential growth for other manufacturers in the UK. “Our data shows that 28 per cent of consumers that intend to purchase a tablet in the next year are still undecided about which brand to buy.”

He said that Apple’s achievement in the market was linked to its success in the smartphone market. “This is clearly something other manufacturers will have to contend with,” he said.

Kantar found that the UK’s awareness of the devices was high, and that the consumer no longer needed to be educated about the merits of the internet-connected tablet. Mr Sunnebo said: “Over a quarter of those who said they have a strong knowledge of the product plan to go and buy one in the next year.”

The majority of tablet sales so far were those using WiFi – the short range internet connection – rather than 3G mobile networks. Kantar found that tablets were most used for reading eBooks and newspapers, as well as using applications and playing games, with more than 40 per cent using their tablets while commuting, while PCs remained popular for work and smart phones for instant messaging and social networking.

Kantar found that almost 70 per cent of phones sold in the UK over the past three months were smartphone, with just over 40 per cent of the population now owning a smartphone.

However, it pointed to the growing convergence between larger smart phones and smaller tablet devices, with 10 per cent of the consumers in its survey interested in buying an internet connected device tablet undecided on either a smartphone or tablet.

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