The PC market has been coughing up phlegm for quite a while and for the last couple of years we’ve been told that tablet would wreck the PC market. This of course was rubbish, since tablets can only complement PCs, not replace them, and the real reasons behind the PC slump are a bit more complex.
Research from IDC has revealed that the tablet market is cooling down. The research firm cut its unit shipment forecast from 229.3 million units to 227.4 million units, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is a telltale sign that many got carried away in the tablet craze. However, although growth is slowing, tablet shipments this year will still be 57.7 percent above 2012 shipments. By 2017 IDC expects shipments to hit the 407 million mark. Mature markets are expected to cede market share to emerging markets over the next few years, namely the Asia Pacific region.
While mature markets such as North America and Western Europe have driven much of the tablet market’s growth to date, IDC expects shipment growth to begin to slow in these markets. The main culprits are market saturation, increased adoption of phablets and the eventual growth of wearable tech, which has yet to enter the fray.
“A lower than anticipated second quarter, hampered by a lack of major product announcements, means the second half of the year now becomes even more critical for a tablet market that has traditionally seen its highest shipment volume occur during the holiday season,” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets. “We expect average selling prices to continue to compress as more mainstream vendors utilize low-cost components to better compete with the whitebox tablet vendors that continue to enjoy widespread traction in the market despite typically offering lower-quality products and poorer customer experiences.”
IDC research reveals another interesting trend, the rise of tablets in the commercial segment. Education projects have a lot to do with it, along with adoption in vertical markets such as retail. This segment will slowly double from 10 percent in 2012 to 20 percent in 2017. This might indicate that vendors will be forced to get creative and design more specialized tablets for businesses and schools.