The Wi-Fi connection base has only grown to 65% of tablet users now
According to the latest research from the NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence, as tablet adoption has been on the increase in the US, the rate of cellular connections is not keeping pace. Instead, more tablet owners rely on Wi-Fi-only connections.
In April 2011, 60% of tablet users only connected via Wi-Fi, but 5% of them said they planned to purchase mobile broadband plans within the next six months. However, now the Wi-Fi connection base has only grown to 65% of tablet users, at the expense of cellular connectivity.
Connected Intelligence vice president Eddie Hold said there were multiple reasons for greater Wi-Fi reliance. "Concern over the high cost of cellular data plans is certainly an issue, but more consumers are finding that Wi-Fi is available in the majority of locations where they use their tablets, providing them ‘good enough’ connectivity. In addition, the vast majority of tablet users already own a smartphone, which fulfills the ‘must have’ connectivity need," said Hold.
While many early adopters opted for tablets with embedded cellular – primarily as a "future proof" play – mainstream consumers are more likely to choose a lower price point and forgo the promise of constant connectivity.
Hold adds, "If there is not an ongoing need for these early adopters to be always-on, then the carriers clearly face challenges with the larger consumer audience moving forward."