Demand for tablets and 2-in-1 convertible laptop hybrids cooling off

Lenovo Yoga Tablet
Tablets aren't a fad

Demand for tablets globally is expected to grow well below the previous forecast according to analyst firm IDC in its third quarterly update (the two others were for servers and for PCs).

The company says that year-on-year growth will stall at about 6.5%, significantly less than the 12.1% that it originally put forward. What's spectacular though is how fast tablet growth appears to have stuttered.

Actual y-o-y growth in 2013 in so-called mature markets (North American and Western Europe) reached 25% while that number was much higher (88%) in RoW territories.

Now, IDC reckons that it will be flat (i.e. 0%) and 12% respectively with 2018 forecasts set at 4% and 5% respectively; about 233 million units will be shipped, a number that includes both tablets and 2-in-1 convertible/hybrids.

IDC's research director for tablets, Jean Philippe Bouchard, argues that shipments are likely to growth thanks to newer tablets with small size displays (less than 8-inch), many of which are expected to run on a free copy of Microsoft's Windows, 8.1 with Bing.

When it comes to revenues though, average selling price for mature markets is still holding well at about $373 (about £220, AU$ 400) far more than in the RoW where ASPs slumped by 10% to $302 (about £190, AU$330); that's thanks partly to a shift to large screen (>9.7-inch) and embedded cellular connectivity (3G/4G).

In some Asian countries for instance, growth of voice-enabled tablet topped 60% and represent a quarter of overall tablet shipments, with many seemingly preferring the tablet as their unique device rather than the smartphone.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.