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IDC Lowers 2013 Tablet Shipment Forecast as Market Matures

IDC Lowers 2013 Tablet Shipment Forecast as Market Matures

The worldwide tablet market, the poster child of explosive growth in a new market segment, may finally be slowing down, if only slightly, according to a report Thursday from research firm IDC. The firm lowered its tablet shipment estimates for the first time, to 227.4 million units for calendar year 2013, down from the original forecast of 229.3 million.

Make no mistake, most expect the tablet market to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, with 407 million units forecast for 2017, but the rapid adoption spurred by wealthy purchasers in North America, Western Europe, and Japan may have reached maturity.

As a result, emerging markets will continue to comprise a higher percentage of new tablet purchases, from 38 percent in 2012 to a forecast of 51 percent by 2017.


The increased adoption of smartphones with larger screens, the so-called “phablets,” along with new interest in wearable computing devices is also turning the tide slightly against traditional tablets.

While mature markets such as North America and Western Europe have driven much of the tablet market’s growth to date, IDC expects shipment growth to begin to slow in these markets. Market saturation, increased adoption of smartphones with 5-inch and greater screens, and the eventual growth of the wearable category will impact tablet growth in all regions, but are likely to impact mature regions first.

IDC’s report also notes another interesting trend in tablet market share: an increase in commercial use. Since the market’s reinvention in 2010 with the launch of Apple’s first iPad, tablets have been overwhelmingly seen as consumer devices, with 90 percent distributed to the commercial segment in 2012.

Increasing use cases for businesss along with the adoption of tablets for educational institutions is projected to raise the commercial segment share of new tablet purchases to 20 percent by 2017, even as the consumer segment continues to grow.

The data for Thursday’s report was compiled by the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker as of August 2013.

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Jim Tanous

Aug 30, 2013

676 Articles Published