Mobile // Mobile Business
News
7/10/2014
11:12 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Tablet Sales Sag

Tablet sales slumped for the first time since the iPad's introduction, suggesting that more consumers may be opting for large-screen smartphones.

Amazon Fire: 6 Key Points
Amazon Fire: 6 Key Points
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Big-screened smartphones continue to put the hurt on tablet sales. Shipments of tablet computers around the globe retracted during the first three months of the year, according to new data from NPD DisplaySearch, marking the first retreat since the iPad debuted in 2010. The drop in shipments could spell trouble for makers of tablets and other gear.

Tablet manufacturers shipped about 56 million units during the first quarter, down from approximately 59 million during the same period a year ago. The drop isn't enormous, but it is cause for concern. Tablet shipments have gone nowhere but up, up, up during the four years following the Apple iPad's arrival. The iPad is generally held responsible for the modern resurgence in tablet computing.

NPD DisplaySearch suggests increasing sales of large-screened phones are partly responsible for the decline in tablet shipments. Oversized smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, HTC One Max, and Nokia Lumia 1520 are more appealing than small tablets to many consumers.

[Samsung's smartphone sales sag. See Samsung Smartphone Juggernaut Shows Signs Of Weakness.]

"Tablet PC demand in 2014 is being impacted by falling demand for seven-inch-class sizes in emerging regions and in China, where many local white-box brands have experienced lower-than-expected shipment growth," said Hisakazu Torii, VP, smart application research at NPD DisplaySearch. Sales of tablets with screens ranging from seven to eight inches represented 58% of the entire tablet market in 2013.

NPD's research corroborates recent findings from Accenture, which suggested sales of large-screen phones are primed to take off at the expense of smaller tablets. Last month, Accenture conducted an online survey of 23,000 consumers across 23 countries. Of those polled, a significant percentage indicated they'd rather buy a big phone than what is now defined as a conventional smartphone, or a device with a screen measuring between four and five inches. Emerging markets posted the strongest interest in big phones. Further, Accenture's data suggests tablet buyers also maximize when it comes to screen size. The survey discovered 72% of potential tablet buyers would prefer a full-sized tablet, while only 20% would prefer a smaller tablet.

Samsung also revealed data suggesting sales of small-screened tablets are cooling. This week the company warned of lower profits thanks to sluggish sales of tablets -- particularly those with smaller screens.

Replacement cycles are another factor. Both NPD and Samsung say instead of replacing tablets every year, consumers are following a cycle similar to laptops. "There is a risk that the replacement cycle for tablet PCs will lengthen beyond the one- to two-year range unless brands can develop more attractive usage scenarios," noted NPD DisplaySearch's Torii.

Apple stills sells more tablets than any other hardware maker, but Samsung places second. The companies rank 33% and 22% of the global market, respectively. Despite flooding the market with new models, consumers aren't buying in the same numbers they were in 2013. NPD says gear makers are already changing their orders for the rest of the year. The research firm now expects tablet shipments to grow just 14% this year, reaching 285 million units. That's down from the 315 million units NPD previously forecast. NPD believes growth in the tablet market will drop to single digits as soon as 2017.

InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of the Internet of Things. Find out the way in which an aging workforce will drive progress on the Internet of Things, why the IoT isn't as scary as some folks seem to think, how connected machines will change the supply chain, and more. (Free registration required.)

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
SaneIT
50%
50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/15/2014 | 4:51:45 PM
Re: Only so many
@JonNLakeland, I have wondered about a Google glass like HUD but it seems to be a tough sell.  I think about all of the Bluetooth headset conversations I've interrupted because I thought they were talking to me then I think about how many blank stares we will see or assume are directed towards us as someone is staring at a Glass like display. 
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2014 | 6:51:28 PM
Re: Only so many
@Angelfuco Yes, it's better for the budget but also better for the environment -- less waste and trash from devices considered obsolete as soon as the new version comes out. 
PaulS681
50%
50%
PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2014 | 6:48:59 PM
Re: Poeple just figured it out
@moarsauce123... It depends what kind of tablet you are talking about. I have purchased Samsung Slate 7 tablets for some of my users and they love them. They dock them at work and they are their work station. They leave and take the tablet with them. It's a windows tablet and runs everything they need. With the SSD it is fast as well.
PaulS681
50%
50%
PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
7/13/2014 | 6:45:32 PM
Large screens
I like the larger screen smart phones but I like my phone in my pocket. If it won't fit in my pocket I would have a problem. So at what point do they get to big?

 
Angelfuego
50%
50%
Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
7/13/2014 | 6:30:00 PM
Re: Only so many
@Ariella, I also like to have my devices last longer than a year. I'm not big on the constant upgrade by getting new devices every year or two. I tend to not always get the latest trends and use my devices until they literally don't work anymore. Financial reasons are the common denominator for me. The buck has to stop so where. Lol
Angelfuego
50%
50%
Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
7/13/2014 | 6:25:31 PM
Re: Continuum of Usability
@Thomas, I know it may sound crazy, but I never owned a desktop. I've used desktops at work and the library but I've always used laptops and tablets at home.
Angelfuego
50%
50%
Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
7/13/2014 | 6:23:32 PM
Re: Poeple just figured it out
@moarsource, I think you are right, I love my tablet and that is all that I use at home.
moarsauce123
0%
100%
moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
7/12/2014 | 7:43:17 PM
Poeple just figured it out
It being the fact that tablets are great as toys or for content consumption, but other than that are quite useless. They are not usable for any productivity work, office tasks, or somewhat beefiers apps.
Somedude8
50%
50%
Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
7/11/2014 | 10:48:25 PM
Replacement Cycles
Much longer replacement cycles for tablets. I really believe its that simple.
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/11/2014 | 4:29:15 PM
Re: Continuum of Usability
I expect we'll make a distinction between desktop computers and mobile computers as long as we need fans and space to cool hot-running desktop chips. If we can get speed without much heat, there's no reason not to put the electronics in an iPad, to add peripherals if necessary, and to move it or not as required.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek - September 2, 2014
Avoiding audits and vendor fines isn't enough. Take control of licensing to exact deeper software discounts and match purchasing to actual employee needs.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
In in-depth look at InformationWeek's top stories for the preceding week.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.