Reason for tablet fall-off is big phones, says report

Mobile Internet is ‘exploding,’ but it’s not through tablet use.

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Tablet-driven Internet traffic is collapsing, and in one country it’s off by a quarter compared to the same time period a year ago. That’s despite mobile Internet traffic growing overall, says a report.

The reason for the demise of the tablet is a take-off in large-screened smartphones termed ‘phablets,’ reckons Adobe’s digital market research arm, Adobe Digital Index.

Adobe has been looking at mobile Internet traffic in EMEA—which is an acronym for Europe, the Middle East and Africa—when it spotted the trend.

Most glaring was Saudi Arabia’s 25% decline in tablet use, despite “exploding” Saudi Arabia use of mobile for Internet access.

“At the beginning of the year, visits from mobile accounted for 49% of the traffic to the sites analyzed” there, Adobe says in an article in CMO, its market research publication. “By year-end, that number reached 61.9%.”

The 25% decline in tablet use there, coupled with the gain in mobile traffic leads one to believe that it’s smartphones driving that mobile traffic, Adobe reckons.

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Why so rapid there? Maybe due to “the affluence of the country and consequent access to better specified smartphones,” says Tamara Gaffney, principal at Adobe Digital Index. If so, then the transition to phablets could be a sign of things to come as citizens in less-developed countries move on to new phones too, in time.

But it’s not just EMEA seeing the “explosion” of mobile Internet traffic. China has seen “growth of over 50% for the year,” CMO says in the article. And is also seeing a “migration happening in the country from tablet to smartphone devices,” according to the publication.

India and Brazil also display significant tablet decreases.

I wrote about phablet gains in May 2015 in “Phablet genre to replace smartphones, implies new survey.” A market researcher said then that phablets grabbed a 21% U.S. market share in Q1 2015—a quadrupling over the same period the year before.

So, within a little over six months we’ve seen not only the demise of the small form-factor smartphone, but also the apparent imminent death of the tablet. Both in favor of the phablet.

Remember netbooks’ rapid descent?

Numbers indicate that mobile Internet is growing rapidly, though. Even countries such as Czech Republic and Slovakia, which were way-behind-followers in mobile Internet (as opposed to wired use) “are playing catch-up,” CMO says.

The Czech Republic garnered 43.5% growth Year-on-Year. In other words, since the same time period a year ago.

“Smartphone screens are getting bigger,” CMO says. “Now, instead of buying both a smartphone and a tablet, people are opting for ‘phablets’ and relying on just this one device, with a larger screen, for all of their browsing,” the publication explains.

Interestingly, the CMO article also goes on to explain the media implications of the phablet move.

The big phablet screens “are turning smartphones into both “lean back” and “lean forward” devices, says CMO. In other words, the smartphone is becoming even more media intensive.

From TV watching on the smartphone being a niche pastimeand something conjured up wistfully in the minds of smartphone designers and media rights ownersit actually may happen. The smartphone, really does become all-encompassing device—including video.

Phablets replace tablets and then replace TVs?

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