IDC has upped its forecasts for global tablet shipments in 2013, as a result of “a predicted surge of smaller, lower-priced devices” available to consumers.
The research firm now expects 190.9 million units to ship this year, up from its earlier expectation of 172.4 million. Looking forward, it has also upped its expectations for the period to 2016, with an average increase of 11 per cent across the period.
According to Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst for IDC’s Tablet Tracker: “One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond. Vendors are moving quickly to compete in this space as consumers realise that these small devices are often more ideal than larger tablets for their daily consumption habits.”
Android-based tablets expanded their share of the market “notably” in 2012, IDC said, with the research firm expecting this trend to continue in 2013.
The Google platform is forecast to reach a peak market share of 48.8 percent in 2013, compared with 41.5 percent in IDC’s previous forecast. Android’s market share gains come at the expense of market leader Apple’s iOS, which is expected to slip from 51 per cent in 2012 to 46 per cent in 2013.
In the longer term, both iOS and Android will eventually relinquish some market share to Windows-based tablets, with Windows 8 predicted to grow from 1 per cent of the market in 2012 to 7.4 per cent in 2017. Contrastingly, Windows RT will remain below 3 per cent during the forecast period.
“Consumers aren’t buying Windows RT’s value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8. Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road,” said Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC.
In the Indian context also, low-cost tablets are selling more especially in tier two and three cities. Leading Indian tablets makers like Micromax and HCL are making hay while the sun is shining on them, and this trend will continue because majority of Indian population can’t afford highly expensive tablets of companies like Apple and Samsung.