nexus7 tabletThe growth rate in tablet ownership leveled off in 2Q 2013, coming in “roughly on par” with the 40% reported in March, according to the latest data from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Forty-one percent of online U.S. consumers reported owning a tablet between April and June this year, according to CEA’s “Consumer Outlook on Tablets: Q3 2013” report.

The intent to purchase a tablet rebounded from a 1Q dip, with 40% of online U.S. adults indicating they intended to purchase a tablet within the next two years. That’s up 33% from March 2013. Nearly 3 in 4 (72%) said they expect to purchase a tablet at some future date, according to a CEA press release.

“Tablets faced a relatively stagnant second quarter in 2013, after several consecutive quarters of strong growth,” CEA senior analyst, market research Kevin Tillmann was quoted as saying. “However, an increase in consumers’ purchase intent indicates optimism. Many consumers are waiting for the next generation of models to upgrade their existing devices.”

With tablets “primarily used for entertainment,” CEA found that playing games moved into the top spot as the most popular tablet activity, supplanting social networking. Movie watching remained the second-most popular activity with messaging ranking third. Social networking and shopping complete the top 5.

“With nearly half of U.S. households expected to own a tablet in the next 12-18 months, tablets are undeniably impacting how consumers view and enjoy digital content,” Tillmann said. “As we move through 2013, anticipation runs high this year for the next wave of tablets to include new and innovative features. Striking the right chord with consumers’ expectations will be imperative to resuming the growth trends we’ve seen prior to this quarter’s purchase stagnation.”

Tablet and smartphone sales continue to drive growth in the U.S. CE market, according to CEA’s latest “U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts,” which was released last week. U.S. tablet shipments are expected to reach 87.1 million units for 2013 as a whole, up 45% from 2012, while 2013 tablet revenues are forecast to come in at $27.3 billion, a 9% year-over-year increase, according to CEA.

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