IDC Reduces Tablet Forecast as Demand for Phablets Heats Up

Paul Lilly

Consumers aren't all that anxious to upgrade their existing tablets

Mobile devices are ultra hot right now, including tablets, though the market for slates isn't skyrocketing like it once was. Instead, consumers are largely content with their current tablet devices, and those who do see a need to pick up a new mobile device are trending towards phablet (large size smartphones) devices. As such, International Data Corporation (IDC) reduced its tablet shipment forecast for 2014.

IDC is now forecasting 245.4 million tablet and 2-in-1 hybrid device shipments by the end of the year, down from its previous forecast of 260.9 million units. If the new forecast holds true, it will represent a 12.1 percent year-over-year growth rate, down significantly from the 51.8 percent year-over-year growth rate tablets and 2-in-1 devices enjoyed in 2013.

"Two major issues are causing the tablet market to slow down. First, consumers are keeping their tablets, especially higher-cost models from major vendors, far longer than originally anticipated. And when they do buy a new one they are often passing their existing tablet off to another member of the family," said Tom Mainelli , Program Vice President, Devices & Displays at IDC. "Second, the rise of phablets – smartphones with 5.5-inch and larger screens – 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."

While tablet and 2-in-1 device shipments are slowing down, phablets are gaining ground. Phablets went from accounting for 4.3 percent of the smartphone market in the first quarter of 2013 to 10.5 percent in the first quarter of this year, with 30.1 million units shipped.

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