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Tablet adoption remains low in South Korea

Tablet penetration is lower in South Korea than in any other advanced digital market in Asia-Pacific. According to figures by eMarketer, just over 20 per cent of South Korea’s population will use a tablet at least once per month in 2015, compared with over 45 per cent of the population of Australia, 24.1 per cent in China and 23.3 per cent in Japan.

The penetration will be slightly higher among internet users at 24.3 per cent. eMarketer’s estimates of tablet users include people who own or simply have regular access to a tablet and use the device at least monthly. This low penetration could be attributed to the popularity of phablets in the country.

“One major reason the tablet population in South Korea will remain under 10 million this year is the country’s high adoption of phablets, which represent a high percentage of smartphones in South Korea and may make tablets a less attractive option for users who already have a fairly large mobile screen at their fingertips. Research also indicates that a high share of mobile internet users in the country access the mobile web via smartphone, rather than a tablet or feature phone, and popular mobile service KakaoTalk pretty much requires the immediacy of a smartphone,” explained Haixia Wang, vice president of forecasting at eMarketer.

According to data by eMarketer there will be nearly a million new tablet users in South Korea annually through 2017, when the pace of growth will slow again. By the end of the forecast period, just over one-quarter of the population of South Korea will use a tablet monthly. That will compare with an outright majority in Australia, more than 30 per cent penetration in China and Japan, and an 18.2 per cent penetration rate in Indonesia, where the tablet audience is growing at a rapid pace.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.