Tablets May be Reaching Saturation Point in Europe

Business meeting tabletGrowth in tablet ownership is expected to dramatically slow in Europe, as the market reaches a saturation point, and the regular upgrade cycle seen with smartphones fails to take hold with larger devices.

Although growth for 2014 shipments at nearly 14 per cent, it is expected to slow throughout 2015, with consumer shipments moving into decline by 2017. In contrast, the smartphone market continues to perform well, also growing by 14 per cent despite higher market penetration, according to research by Futuresource Consulting.

“Were seeing a smartphone growth bubble in Eastern Europe, perpetuated by the low level of ownership in many of its countries,” said Anjalie Rajkumar, research analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “Its not all good news, as we expect growth the slow in 2015 as Russia – the largest market in the region by some distance – faces increasing economic uncertainty.

“Across Europe as a whole, Samsung and Apples duopoly remains solid, albeit with a slightly reduced market share. Microsoft, having acquired Nokias devices arm, gained further share due to the increasingly popularity of its low-end devices while lower-cost brands have gained ground through the region. However, this decline in smartphone prices was somewhat offset by a persistent shift towards higher-prices smartphones, resulting in an overall increasing in mobile handset average selling price.”

However, looking at the tablet market, the figures inspired less confidence. In the UK, tablet shipments declined by two per cent, despite overall growth in Western Europe. Enterprise sales, which currently account for around 15 per cent of shipments, are expected to increasingly drive tablet growth as the consumer market nears saturation, although levels of uptake will vary considerably from country to country.