Explosion in Tablets Is Scaling Back to a Boom, IDC Says

Remember that tablet boom? A new report from industry research firm IDC forecasts a lower growth rate for tablets this year.

That forecast, released Thursday, doesn't project an actual decline in the sales of tablets. In fact, it still expects a 12.1 percent year-over-year growth rate -- but that's a sizable drop from the phenomenal year-over-year growth rate of 51.8 percent in 2013.

Tom Mainelli, program vice president of Devices and Displays at IDC, said in statement that the relative slowdown is due to two factors.

"First," he said, "consumers are keeping their tablets, especially higher-cost models from major vendors, far longer than originally anticipated." When consumers do buy a new one, he said, the existing tablet often gets passed "off to another member of the family," cutting down on replacement sales.

Rise of Phablets

Additionally, Mainelli pointed to the rise of phablets, which are the name given to smartphones with screens that are 5.5 inches to 7 inches. These devices, he said, "are causing many people to second-guess tablet purchases as the larger screens on these phones are often adequate for tasks once reserved for tablets."

Phablets, in contrast to tablets, are showing an increase in their growth rate. The share of smartphone shipments has more than doubled since the first quarter of last year, when it was 4.3 percent, to 10.5 percent in the first quarter of this year. IDC said it expected the market to shift back to larger-screen tablets, like the new, Microsoft 2-in-1, 12-inch Surface Pro 3.

The research firm said that the shift back would help to double the number of Microsoft-based devices in this category by 2018, and will give a boost to vendors, since tablets are, on average, 50 percent higher than phablets in price.

IDC projects that devices with screen sizes of 11 inches and larger will grow from...

Comments are closed.