The tablet segment is seeing explosive growth in emerging markets, heralding an even greater slowdown for the PC market in the coming years. Even with tablets flying off shelves in newer markets, though, the overall tablet market may have already hit its peak growth.
Market research firm IDC has released a new report predicting that global tablet market growth will slow to just 19.4% this year with an estimated 260.9 million tablets predicted to ship. This, compared to the 51.6% growth the industry saw in 2013.
The probable slowdown is being attributed to established markets that are quickly saturating. In the U.S. and Europe the installed base of tablet owners has grown large enough that new tablet customers are becoming rare. Tablet technology, largely based on that of the mature smartphone market, has also helped to satisfy customers using early models, keeping the number of replacement tablet purchases relatively low.
"After years of strong growth, we expect the white-box tablet market to slow in 2014 as consumers move to higher-end devices that work better and last longer," said IDC's Tom Mainelli, program VP for Devices & Displays at IDC. "In mature markets, where many buyers have purchased higher-end products from market leaders, consumers are deciding that their current tablets are good enough for the way they use them. Few are feeling compelled to upgrade the same way they did in years past, and that's having an impact on growth rates."
The IDC report also predicts that the average sale price for tablets will also begin to level off in the coming months. For several quarters now white box and branded tablet makers have both been racing to provide consumers with inexpensive tablets filled with low-end hardware. The report predicts that average sale price for tablets will drop just 3.6% in 2014 compared to the 14.6% decline seen in 2013.
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