SYDNEY: Tablet ownership levels are set to reach almost 30% in Australia during the next five years, by which time more than half of shoppers should posses a smartphone, Frost & Sullivan, the research firm, has predicted.

In a new report, the company forecast that tablet penetration is likely to stand at 29% in 2017, versus the current figure of 13%.

The company also stated that 20% of consumers in the 15–65 year old demographic had already bought these gadgets, with uptake peaking among 25–44 year olds.

More broadly, it suggested that 33% of Australian households today contain at least one member who boasts an iPad, Galaxy Tab, Kindle Fire or similar offering.

In an indication of the impact this trend is exerting on other media channels, 55% of individuals that own a tablet have reduced the amount of time spent surfing the web on PCs or laptops.

"Tablets are fundamentally changing user behaviour patterns," Phil Harpur, Frost & Sullivan's senior research manager, Australia and New Zealand, said.

Elsewhere, the analysis revealed that 68% of people in the 15–65 year old demographic use a smartphone at present.

The organisation also estimated that 41% of the country's entire population now possessed one of these devices, a total pegged to hit 65% by 2017.

"Smartphone penetration in Australia is expected to continue to increase where in two to three years time, the vast majority of Australians aged 15 to 65 will own one," said Harpur.

"The mobile device has transitioned from a device primarily used for voice and text to a more sophisticated multi-functional device with usage patterns centred around mobile media capabilities."

Popular pastimes among users of these handsets include checking the weather, accessing maps, sending or receiving email, social networking, gaming and downloading apps.

Watching short video clips through platforms such as YouTube is also a widespread activity, although streaming long form content remains more niche at present.

Data sourced from Frost & Sullivan; additional content by Warc staff