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Tablet computers now owned by 54%


Argos has suffered a drop in sales of tablet computers

Argos has suffered a drop in sales of tablet computers

Argos has suffered a drop in sales of tablet computers

More than half of UK homes now own a tablet computer - just five years after they first went on sale.

The rapid rise in popularity of tablets such as Apple's iPad, which launched in the UK on May 28, 2010, is helping to shape the way people surf the internet, communicate and watch TV and video, the figures from Ofcom show.

Some 54% of UK households now use one, up from just 2% in 2011, the regulator said.

They are particularly popular among those aged between 35 and 54, with almost two thirds of this group (64%) owning one.

And the trend looks set to continue, with 21% of households currently without a tablet telling Ofcom they are likely to get one within the next 12 months.

Almost three quarters (71%) of children aged between five and 15 had access to a tablet at home by the end of last year, up from 51% in 2013, while 34% of this group have their own device, up from 19% in 2013.

Even toddlers have embraced the technology, with 11% of three and four-year-olds having their own tablet.

Gaming on tablets is becoming increasingly popular, with 15% of adults using them to play games such as Angry Birds, Halo or Candy Crush compared with 17% for gaming on consoles.

They are also helping to drive the uptake of apps, with 86% of adults who go online on a tablet using apps at the end of last year.

Almost half of all app users (48%) typically get their news headlines on an app, compared with 37% who tend to use a web browser, the study found.

But browsers are still the most popular for information searches, used by 61% of app users, while just 25% tend to use an app.

But despite their portability, just 15% take their tablet with them when out and about.

At the end of last year, 58% of people with a tablet connected at home were watching video clips online while 36% were watching catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer or ITV Player.

Ofcom's director of consumer research, Kate Reeve, said: "In just five years, tablets have become a must-have device for millions of UK households.

"We're using them to catch up with the news, watch our favourite soaps and keep the kids entertained, with around one in three five to 15-year-olds having their own tablet."