Dramatic Drop In Growth Forecast For Tablet Market
The IDC has forecast year-on-year growth will slow to 7.2 per cent, down from 52.5 per cent in 2013, with the lifecycles for tablets continuing to lengthen and “increasingly resembling those of PCs more than smartphones”.
Ryan Reith, IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers program director, noted the market for tablets “continues to be impacted by a few major trends happening in relevant markets”.
“In the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every two-three years,” Reith stated.
“What has played out instead is that many tablet owners are holding onto their devices for more than three years, and in some instances more than four years.
“We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet lifecycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computing tasks.”
The IDC observed “significant advancements” have been made recently in the 2-in-1, or detachable, product category, with devices becoming thinner, prices coming down, and more models available.
However, shipments of 2-in-1 devices are only expected to reach 8.7 million units in 2014, equating to just 4 per cent of the total tablet plus 2-in-1 market, with the IDC noting a large reason for this “has been consumer hesitancy around the Windows 8 platform, which the majority of 2-in-1 devices are built upon”.
“We need to look at how the tablet ecosystem is answering these challenges, and right now we see a lot of pressure on tablet prices and an influx of entry-level products, which ultimately serves Android really well,” commented Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC research director for tablets.
“But we also see tablet manufacturers trying to offset this price pressure by focusing on larger screens and cellular-enabled tablets. The next six months should be really interesting.”
Unknowns that could impact overall tablet shipments are the industry reaction to Windows 10, what Google does with Android and Chrome OS, and Apple’s rumoured product line expansion, the IDC stated.
The IDC has forecast the Android operating system will grow its worldwide tablet and 2-in-1 market share by 16 per cent year-on-year to 67.7 per cent in 2014, with iOS in second place with 27.5 per cent, down 12.7 per cent, and Windows coming in third with 4.6 per cent, up 67.3 per cent.
Looking ahead to 2018, the IDC has forecast Android will command 64 per cent of the market, iOS 24.5 per cent, and Windows 11.4 per cent.