Though the tablet industry as a whole is thriving, the market segment is already beginning to saturate is the world's largest tech markets. For large-brand manufacturers of tablets, this could even mean a drop in year-over-year sales during the important holiday season.
That situation isn't affecting smaller tablet brands, however, which are seeing sales skyrocket in emerging markets such as China and India. A DigiTimes Research report today estimates that so-called "white-box" tablet manufacturers shipped a collective 25 million tablets during the third quarter of 2013. That's up over 40% from white-box shipments in the third quarter of 2012.
DigiTimes states that most of these white-box tablets are popular in places where consumers place a premium on low prices. Most of the tablets sold in these markets have 7-inch displays and lower hardware specs than even previous models of branded tablets.
As well as small-brand tablets are currently selling, that is soon expected to change. Large-brand tablet manufacturers are expected to aggressively enter the market next year, offering low-cost tablet at competitive prices in emerging markets. Though manufacturing costs for tablets are still falling, DigiTimes also believes that low-cost tablet margins are as thin as they can possibly get. With these factors in play, even the white-box market will be forced to consolidate, with winning brands emerging as viable competitors in emerging markets. Even then, the tablet market is expected to saturate even more quickly than the smartphone market in the coming years.