LONDON: Apple's iPad remains the dominant player in the UK tablet market, a position it appears set to retain going forward, a new study has argued.

Kantar Worldpanel, the research firm, estimated 3.6m people in the UK now possess a tablet, with Apple's pioneering iPad device currently taking a 73% share of the category.

Overall, 43% of tablet owners use these appliances when commuting, and 36% do so while outdoors. More specifically, 90% connect to WiFi networks at home, and 41% do so in another location.

Just over 50% of shoppers interested in buying a tablet during the next year expressed a desire to acquire an iPad, according to the study.

This gadget was well ahead of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, in second place on this metric with a score of only 6%, versus 28% of relevant respondents who were unsure which brand to choose.

Moreover, 80% of participants already owning an iPhone and hoping to pick up a slate in the coming year anticipated selecting an iPad.

"Apple's achievements in this market are clearly linked to its success in the smartphone market," said Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's global consumer insight director. "This is clearly something other manufacturers will have to contend with."

Thus far, 16% of shoppers claimed to have a "strong knowledge" of tablets, whereas a modest 3% of people held "no knowledge" in this area.

Over a quarter of individuals boasting a "strong knowledge" of these products expected to purchase one in the next year, measured against 3% among those with "low knowledge".

Elsewhere, 10% of people questioned by Kantar remained undecided about whether to pick a smartphone or a tablet, suggesting a degree of confusion about the differences between these devices.

"One consideration for the future will also be the relationship between smartphones, tablets and PCs," said Sunnebo. "With tablets and smartphones providing similar benefits to customers and increasingly becoming the same size it may become a case of one or the other."

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's consumer tablet tracking panel is based on information drawn from over 80,000 interviews conducted in Australia, France, Italy, Germany, the UK and US each year.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech; additional content by Warc staff