Tablets to Bring Double-digit Declines in Paper Usage
Media tablets are on pace to become a ubiquitous, mass-market consumer product faster than any other previously released technological device. The powerful implications of this rapid adoption on publication paper markets is the subject of a new study—“The Impact of Media Tablets on Publication Paper Markets”—published by RISI, an information provider for the global forest products industry.
The market for media tablets—consisting of tablet computers (including Apple’s iPad) and electronic readers (including Amazon’s Kindle)—exploded in 2010. By the end of the first year of availability, more than 15 million tablet computers were in use. In North America alone, the size of the electronic reader market almost doubled, to more than 10 million in use. Early on, signs of trouble for the publication paper market became clear:
- In 2010, the top free app in Apple’s iTunes store was iBooks.
- A Morgan Stanley inquiry discovered that 42 percent of U.S. tablet owners will cancel their print newspaper subscription.
- In May of this year, Amazon.com announced that eBook sales now exceed those of printed book sales in the U.S.
“Many graphic paper producers make their living selling paper to the publishing industry; those companies will be greatly affected by media tablets,” explains John Maine, RISI’s vice president World Graphic Paper and Study Team Leader. “Significant demand impacts could come as soon as 2012.”
“The Impact of Media Tablets on Publication Paper Markets” finds that by 2015, most publishing paper end uses in North America—such as magazine, newspaper and book publishing—will fall 12-21 percent compared to their 2010 levels. This is on top of the massive collapse that occurred during the recent recession. Paper use in North American books, magazines and newspapers could see another 40-50 percent fall over the next 15 years.
“The Impact of Media Tablets on Publication Paper Markets” forecasts the decline by grade and end-use in the Publication Paper Market over the next five, 10 and 15 years, analyzing the effects of eReaders and tablet computers on the North American and Western European markets. The forecast covers three scenarios: a base case, strong impact case (with quicker diffusion of tablets to the mass market) and a weak impact scenario.