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Growing tablet demand seen petering off for 2014

Mobility

The global demand for tablet computers may be slowing, according to new research firm IDC Corp. The research firm is lowering its worldwide tablet forecast for 2014 after two quarters of softer than expected demand.

IDC said it lowered its worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 forecast for 2014 to 233.1 million units, which would still represent year-over-year annual growth of 6.5 per cent, but would be down sharply from the 12.1 per cent growth rate that IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker was originally forecasting for 2014.

“When we look at the global picture, it would be easy to say that the tablet market is slowing down,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director for tablets at IDC, in a statement. “But, when we start digging into the regional dynamics, we realize that there is still a good appetite for this product category. While mature markets like North America and Western Europe will combine for flat unit growth in 2014, the remaining regional markets will generate 12 per cent unit growth over the same period.”

Market growth is expected to come from price pressure in the sub-8” tablet space and from emerging markets. While average selling prices are expected to stabilize at around US$373 in 2014 in mature markets thanks to larger screens and cellular-enabled devices, but drop to US$302 in emerging markets.

 

One interesting emerging trend is in the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) region, where tablets with a  built-in option of voice calling over cellular networks accounted for 25 per cent of shipments in the quarter, up by 60 per cent, suggesting a device convergence trend in this region for voice communication and media consumption on a tablet, and not a smartphone, at least for some.

“Driven primarily by small devices, we expect the rest of the world to account for the majority of shipments in the years to come,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research Analyst for IDC’s Worldwide Tablet Tracker, in a statement. “But in terms of dollars spent, medium- to large-sized devices in North America and Western Europe will still produce significant revenues.”