Tablet Growth To Slow To 22% In 2014
Still, that will mark a 53.5% gain over 2012 levels. Growth for tablet shipments, however, will slow to 22% next year for a total of 270.5 million units, and to single-digit percentages by 2017 -- when it will peak at an estimated 386 million units, which is down from the previous forecast of 407 million.
Demand for so-called phablets, or oversized smartphones, is playing a part in slowing tablet growth. "In some markets consumers are already making the choice to buy a large smartphone rather than buying a small tablet, and as a result we've lowered our long-term forecast," said Tom Mainelli, research director, tablets, at IDC. In mature markets like the U.S., where tablets are well-established, there is less concern about phablets cannibalizing shipments.
The market has shifted dramatically toward 7-inch tablets in the last two years, but IDC suggested the rise of large phones could drive consumers back to larger tablets, since the difference between a 6-inch smartphone and 7-inch tablet isn't enough to justify buying both. Apple's launch last month of the iPad Air -- a thinner, lighter version of its 9.7-inch tablet—could signal another transition back to larger screens.
That could be a positive development for Windows tablets, which generally offer a larger screen area. But they are still not expected to grab market share from iOS and Android model in the near term. Android is expected to end 2013 with 60.8% share of the global tablet market, followed by iOS, with 35%, and Windows, just 3.4%.
Android will maintain its dominance through 2017, when it is projected to have 58.8% share, with Windows increasing to 10.2%, mainly at the expense of iOS, which will see its share fall to 30.6%. Jitesh Ubrani, an IDC research analyst, said he expects Microsoft to make a big push for its 2-in-1 Windows-powered devices to get much traction.