September 30, 2015
A new study from US based technology research organisation ABI Research claims that sales of tablets as well as their worldwide user base will start to shrink next year for the first time. According to the study, the global installed base of tablets will recede as shipments of large slate devices continue their decline as users switch their preference to larger smartphones. While sales of tablets enjoyed consistent growth between 2010 and 2014, the report claims that buyers are looking to replace this generation of products and are discovering that they can enjoy much of the same functionality thanks to the growth in popularity of smartphones with larger screens and a broader range of software and apps. Small businesses, meanwhile, are increasingly attracted to hybrid laptops as a replacement for tablets. According to the study, usage of tablets worldwide will peak at the end of this year.
“The global installed base of branded tablets will peak around 373 million units at the close of 2015,” says ABI’s Research Director Jeff Orr. “Led by North America at 48 percent of the installed base, the operating system mix is expected to be more balanced with 50 percent powered by Android, while 42 percent will use iOS.”
With a slowdown in first-time tablet purchases, there are several reasons for change in the tablet installed base figures:
- Replacing tablets with tablets: The experiences with first-generation tablets greatly influence what audiences will purchase the second time around. Unique apps and content, usability, and durability all play a role in the decision-making process.
- Replacing tablets with phablets: A converged solution that marries the best of the smartphone (mobility and cellular voice service) with the larger display of a tablet. Phablets are an increasing percentage of smartphone shipments and are a mobile alternative to replacing a tablet.
- Replacing tablets with 2-in-1 ultraportable PCs: For small business owners looking to maintain the productivity of a PC with the mobility of a tablet, choices for 2-in-1 systems are increasing and now available with Windows 10 OS.
- No replacement purchase: Not all tablets will be replaced. Some get handed down or resold while others stop working or go unused in favour of performing activities on some other device.
“The change is an opportunity for both incumbent tablet vendors as well as challenger brands and form-factors,” adds Orr. “Led by North America at 48 percent of the installed base, the operating system mix is expected to be more balanced, with 50 percent powered by Android, while 42 percent will use iOS,” ABI Research director Jeff Orr said in a statement. “Phablets are an increasing percentage of smartphone shipments and are a mobile alternative to replacing a tablet.”
Tablets will also be replaced by 2-in-1 ultraportable PCs, which hold a particular attraction for small business owners looking to maintain the productivity of a PC with the mobility of a tablet. In some cases users will not be replacing their tablets at all, with a number of the original handsets being passed on or resold.