One-Third of Us Will Own Tablets by 2016, Research Forecasts

As the larger brethren to the smartphone, tablets have rapidly emerged as a driving force in the mobile revolution. Apple, for example, sold more than 15 million iPads during its last quarter alone, and tablet sales now outpace PC sales in many countries.

So, grand a statistic as this may be, it might not be so surprising: in just four years, one-third of North Americans could own tablets. This is according to new research from Forrester; in a report titled “US Consumer Tablet Forecast Update, 2011 to 2016,” analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said that Forrester “expects 112.5 million US adults to own a tablet in 2016″—or over 34% of the country’s population. And given that Canadians have been fairly aggressive adopters of technology in recent times, it’s relatively safe to say that our penetration will be roughly equal.

Initially mocked as a mere fad by some critics, tablets have established a clear staying power. With 37% of adults already taking their tablets to work, the seeming playthings have become highly versatile devices that appeal to a broad range of consumers—from the child playing games, to the teenager devouring videos, to the mother shopping online, to the professional adult conducting business.