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.
Most men aren’t that good when it comes to choosing a gift for their significant other. Anything to do with fashion is usually off limits, so are beauty products and just about everything else that comes to mind. However, according to YouGov’s latest Tablet Tracker report you can’t go wrong with a nice tablet.
Carphone Warehouse is planning to expand its tablet offering this year, following strong demand in 2012. The company saw plenty of growth in tablets in the latter half of the year, hence it is planning to invest more and grow market share in tablets.
Carphone Warehouse said it will continue to develop the tablet category, both through standalone sales and handset/tablet bundles.
“The development of 4G services is expected to improve download speeds significantly and therefore to stimulate demand for tablets with connectivity to mobile networks as well as wi-fi services,” the company said. “We achieved increased relevance in the tablet market, in part through bundling with mobile phone connections. During the year, we have increased our market share across all our categories and further built our trusted brand. “
As one of the leading retailers in the ever growing mobile sector, Carphone Warehouse had a rather good year. In its annual financial report, the company revealed an 11.5 percent spike in generated revenues, although earnings rose just slightly.
Earlier this week the company also announced that it has enlisted Kate Moss to design a range of smartphone and tablet covers, as part of its new “fashion tech” line of accessories. Not exactly relevant, but it gives us a good excuse to use a gorgeous thumbnail.
Big brand tablet makers have slashed their shipment targets for 2013, citing stronger than expected competition from white-box vendors. According to NPD DisplaySearch, worldwide tablet shipments should hit 256.5 million units this year, up 67 percent from 153.6 million units last year.
However, big brands will lose market share, as white-box outfits are growing faster. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Acer and Asus are expected to lose share at the hands of Chinese white-box makers, who are slowly making inroads in the international market. NPD DisplayResearch estimates that top brands shipped 172 million units in April, but shipments are believed to have dropped to 167 million units in June.
Market leader Apple is also feeling the pinch. It shipped 67 million iPads last year, but NPD DisplaySearch has cut mighty Apple’s shipment target for 2013 from 88 million units to 74 million.
However, despite the cuts the tablet market is looking as healthy as ever, but it might be becoming a bit more heterogeneous. Cheap Androids might undercut industry heavyweights, but at the moment this is more of a regional trend than a global one. White-box vendors are doing well in some parts of Asia, but they won’t take western markets by storm.
While browsing through some cheap tablets at Computex, we got the impression that they have a lot of potential and they might be competitive in some markets. However, it won’t be a repeat of the Macintosh vs. vanilla PC battle of the eighties. The trouble for white-box Chinese tablets is that they can’t just waltz into Europe and the US. For the time being many of them can only sell their kit in mainland China. As one vendor told us, if they tried to go overseas, their collective hind quarters would be sued by Acer and other big players.