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Despite a 7.3 per cent fall in sales of IT products in Western Europe during the first half of 2012, tablet shipments continue to rise.

Research conducted by GfK revealed that tablet adoption rates across Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands rose by 142 per cent between January and June.

"Although it is mostly private customers who are buying these devices, they are also being increasingly bought by the corporates," the research firm stated.

"In fact, in the first half of the year, businesses accounted for more than 13 per cent of total sales of media tablets."

GfK said the boom in demand for iPads and similar appliances is also stimulating sales in other segments, which had been previously stagnating.

"For example, manufacturers are offering special keyboards which make it quicker and easier for consumers to surf the web," the firm noted.

In the UK, the availability of mobile broadband and Wi-Fi enabled tablets has helped drive demand for iPads and rival devices.

Users can access the internet on their touch-screen device from almost any location.

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