Only Half of 3G/4G Tablet Owners Pay for Data Plan, According to CEA's Quarterly Tablet Report

Holiday outlook for tablet sales is bright

Arlington, Va., October 28, 2013 - Among 3G/4G-enabled tablet owners, only half (49 percent) pay for a data plan, according to research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. CEA's Consumer Outlook on Tablets: Q4 2013 report examines trend information on consumer behavior and sentiment regarding tablet computers from July through September 2013.

Nearly three in ten (29 percent) tablet owners report owning a tablet with 3G/4G connectivity. Among these 3G/4G-enabled tablet owners, only half (49 percent) of U.S. online consumers indicate they actually pay for a data plan personally - with 25 percent paying for a tablet data plan separately from any other data plan they may have and 23 percent paying for a bundled data plan with their existing smartphone. The remaining half of owners (50 percent) say they do not pay for a data plan.

"There is a disconnect between consumers that own a 3G/4G-enabled tablet and the consumers that feel the need to pay for the data connectivity," said Tara Hutton, director, market research, CEA. "As we head into the holiday season with excitement around recent product announcements, tablets will garner strong sales and will present the opportunity to sell the benefits of cellular connectivity to consumers."

Tablet ownership rates remain steady since last quarter. Four in ten (41 percent) online U.S. consumers indicate they own a tablet as of September 2013 - holding steady with ownership since March 2013 (40 percent). Tablet ownership remains highest for adults ages 25-34 this quarter at 52 percent, while ownership rates among adults ages 35-44 is 48 percent.

Looking ahead to the holiday season, tablets are the most desired gift on consumers' tech gift wish lists this year, according to CEA's 20th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study. While consumers want tablets for themselves, they also plan to give them as gifts, with 26 percent of gift givers planning to buy a tablet in the fourth quarter, higher than any other mobile connected device.

"Striking the right chord with consumers' tablet expectations this holiday season will be imperative to resuming the growth trends we've seen prior to 2013," said Hutton.

The Consumer Outlook on Tablets report will be released bi-annually in January and June of 2014. This series of reports was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete study is available free to CEA member companies at Non-members may purchase the study for $399 at the CEA store.

About CEA:

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $203 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES - The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA's industry services. Find CEA online at, and through social media.

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