Global tablet growth to slow this year

IDCThe much sought after tablet — the darling of the technology industry in recent years — is expected to grow just 19.4 percent this year. That’s a massive slow down from last year’s growth of 51.6 percent. According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, the reduction is due to slowing consumer purchases as hardware iterations slow and the installed base — particularly in mature markets — continues to grow.

Over the course of the past two years, average selling prices (ASPs) have declined rapidly in the tablet market, but this too appears to be slowing. In 2012, ASPs declined 18.3 percent from the previous year, and in 2013, prices dropped another 14.6 percent.

Price erosion has started to slowly bottom out, with ASPs forecast to drop a modest 3.6 percent in 2014. IDC believes ASP declines will slow for several reasons; chief among them are the growth of higher-priced commercial shipments and a consumer movement away from ultra-low cost products.

“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 Tom Mainelli, Program Vice President of 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.”

As consumer shipments slow in many markets, commercial shipments will grow as a percentage of the overall mix. Much of the tablet growth in commercial to date has been in verticals such as education, but going forward IDC expects tablets to continue to infiltrate small, medium and large businesses around the world. This commercial growth is likely to benefit Microsoft’s Windows over time.

“The choice of operating system will be a key differentiating factor when it comes to success in the commercial segment,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst of Worldwide Tablet Tracker at IDC. “Though Android and iOS will remain dominant, we expect Windows-based devices to capture more than a quarter of the market as its benefits become apparent thanks to growing adoption of 2-in-1s.”

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