A number of recent reports have highlighted just how fast the tablet market is taking off. The growth rate for the segment is predicted to be higher than for the beginning years of the smartphone industry. Now, though, some market watchers are beginning to temper their high expectations for tablets.
Market research firm DisplaySearch today released its quarterly mobile PC shipment forecast, and has lowered its long-term tablet outlook. The firm is reducing its growth estimates by around 9% each year from now until 2017. The new estimates hold that tablet shipments will reach 534 million in 2017, capturing over three-quarters of the mobile PC market.
This is despite still forecasting a 30% increase in tablet shipments in 2013 compared to 2012. Global tablet shipments are expected to hit 255 million this year, while notebook shipments fall to just 160 million - only 36% of the mobile PC market, according to DisplaySearch.
DisplaySearch lowered its expectations, it says, due to a reduction in the production of white box tablets in China. White box tablets are those generic tablets that lack a strong brand but are expected to sell well in emerging markets due to their low costs and prices. Though this does lower expectations for China's growth as an emerging market, the firm still believes that China and the Asia Pacific region will receive up to half of global tablet shipments by 2015. This while North America and Europe combined will drop to 36% of the market by 2017.
“Tablet PCs are gaining share at the expense of standard notebooks in key emerging regions where PC penetration rates are low,” said Richard Shim, senior analyst at DisplaySearch. “Parts of China and Asia Pacific, such as Indonesia and Thailand, are the new battlegrounds for PC shipment growth, and low-cost tablets are compelling alternatives to traditional standard notebooks in those regions.”