A report from the research firm IDC reports that tablet growth is beginning to slow. While tablets are still very popular, the market is not experiencing the exponential growth it had been enjoying years prior. In 2013, tablet sales experienced a growth of over 50%. This year, tablet sales are expected to grow by only 12.1%, partially due to the increasing demand for smartphones with larger screens. IDC is estimating that tablets will account for 254.4 million units sold this year, a 6.5 million unit drop from what was previously expected.
IDC expects smaller sized tablets to take the brunt of this sales dip due to the rise in popularity for large smartphones. According to the report, 7 and 8 inch tablets accounted for 55% of tablet shipments last year. The firm is predicting those tablets will only account for just over half this year, and less than half by 2018.
Last year, IDC stated that due to the increasing interest in the wearables market, smaller tablets would face more competition. The demand for phablets is very apparent given the massive success of the Samsung Galaxy Note line of devices. The firm also revealed that demand for larger sized tablets has also decreased. They stated that unlike smartphones which are replaced frequently, tablets have a similar life span to PC’s, meaning consumers will hold onto them for longer, resulting in slower sales. The iPad and other larger devices are not growing in sales as much as predicted last year.
However, not all is bad news for the tablet market. IDC is expecting the new breed of plus sized tablets to rejuvenate the tablet industry and bring in some healthy consumer demand. The firm discussed in particular the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which features a 12 inch display. It was stated that 11 inch and higher screen tablets accounted for less than 1% of sales in 2013. However, the firm predicts that figure will reach 2% by the end of 2014, and 6.6% by 2018.
These sales figures also revealed the market share of the tablet market. Android tablets are predicted to account for 64.4% of sales this year, followed by iPads at 30.3% and finally Windows devices at 5.3%. This market share isn’t expected to change by a significant amount over the next year. However, it is predicted that Microsoft slate devices will begin to grow, accounting for 10.4% of all shipments by 2018.