Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) The penetration rate of tablet computers in Taiwan is expected to reach almost 40 percent in 2018 but sales of the devices remain under pressure from smartphones, the government-sponsored Institute for Information Industry (III) said Tuesday. According to a forecast made by III research division Foreseeing Innovative New Digiservices (FIND), 7.96 million people aged 12 or older will own tablet computers in 2018, representing a penetration rate of 38.4 percent. That compares with a penetration rate of 29.2 percent in the second half of 2014, when 6.04 million people aged 12 or older in Taiwan owned tablets, and a penetration rate of 25.4 percent in the first half of the year, when there were 5.30 million table owners. The figures and forecasts presented by FIND were based on the latest biannual survey it conducted with Mobile First on the penetration rate and popularity of various mobile devices in Taiwan.
Though the survey, based on 1,068 valid questionnaires, pointed to tablets continuing to gain traction in the future, there were some worrying signs. The FIND survey found that 6.5 percent of respondents who owned tablets said they had not used their devices for about one month. Of that group, 47.2 percent said they were using their smartphones in place of tablets, and 34.9 percent said they didn't like tablets because they were too big and inconvenient to carry around. With smartphone displays getting bigger, many consumers have been willing to change their usage habits by favoring smartphones over tablets, which FIND said was an indication of the threat smartphones pose to tablet sales in the future. Nonetheless, it forecast that about 6.76 million people aged 12 or older will own tablet computers in 2015, representing a penetration rate of 32.6 percent. That will rise to 7.33 million tablet owners and a penetration rate of 35.4 percent in 2016 and 7.72 million tablet owners and a 37.3 percent penetration rate in 2017. (By Jalen Chung and Frances Huang)