Tablet market growth slows as devices market reaches saturation

By Sooraj Shah
31 Mar 2014 View Comments

Tablet market growth in the US has slowed, as the global devices market - which incorporates traditional PCs, tablets, hybrid devices and mobile phones - becomes saturated.

According to a report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, tablet penetration in the US reached 37 per cent, a growth of 54 per cent compared to the same period in 2012. However, the report states that growth is slowing down, year on year, and that it is becoming increasingly hard to convince consumers who don't already own a tablet to purchase one.

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In a survey of US consumers, many of those who said they wouldn't buy a tablet or were unsure said that prices are still too high.

Among those who are not planning to buy a tablet, 72 per cent said they were happy with their current laptop or PC, and only 20 per cent said they are not planning to buy a tablet because of a lack of a physical keyboard.

"With more hybrid devices coming to market with larger screens, more powerful and power-efficient processors consumers' consideration for tablets as an alternative to their current PCs will increase, if the price is right, of course," said the company's chief of research, Carolina Milanesi.

Meanwhile, research from analyst firm Gartner has also forecast a slowdown in the adoption of tablet devices.

"Tablet substitution of notebooks will start to dissipate from this year onwards as consumers and businesses align the right device with the right usage pattern," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

And the analyst group said that as the overall device market begins to saturate, there is an increasing pressure on vendors having to look at alternative methods to increase margins.

With lower cost alternatives to Apple, Samsung, Google and Amazon's tablet offerings already available, Gartner suggests that consumers are looking for different types of features in tablets, such as smaller screens and greater portability, while existing tablet users look for better connectivity in their tablet replacements.

Gartner reported that overall device shipments grew 4.8 per cent in 2013, but that sales of traditional PCs continue to hamper the overall growth of devices. Gartner estimates that 276.7 million units of traditional PCs, including laptops and notebooks, will be shipped in 2014, and that 263 million units will be shipped in 2015.

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