Global Tablet Sales Plummet Following Two Years Of Extraordinary Growth

Coffee shop business meeting phone tabletGlobal sales of tablets are expected to dramatically slow after two years of unprecedented growth, according to a report by telecom analysts CCS Insight.

After year-on-year growth of 79 per cent in 2012 and 71 per cent in 2013, sales growth is expected to drop to just 14 per cent in 2014. The report shows that in Western Europe, sales will actually shrink by 6 per cent.

The report attributes the drastic drop to a combination of delayed adoption in emerging markets, where the smartphone still reigns supreme, and a slowdown in developed markets. By 2018, there are predicted to be 1.6bn tablets in use, four times what there was in 2013, but while the device split with smartphones will have reached 50/50 in developed markets, in emerging markets smartphones will still account for 77 per cent of mobile devices.

“Rapid growth has proved unsustainable,” said Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight. “After the fastest adoption ever seen for a technology device, tablet-makers now face a nasty sting in the tail. Replacement rates are lagging those seen for smartphones, with consumers holding onto their tablets for three years or more.

“With households seeing no necessity to replace their current tablets (or smartphones) there could be an uptick in replacement purchases of aging PCs and notebooks. In some cases a household gadget budget might now be spent on new products such as the latest crop of wearable devices, including smartwatches and fitness bands.”

Despite a poor outlook for 2014, the forecast also predicted a new period of growth in coming years, as replacement sales start to grow in developed markets and the first wave of growth commences in emerging markets, with sales expected to reach 562m units in 2018, with a market value of almost $100bn (£58bn).