To many people it seems as though tablets are taking over the world and are bound to make regular PCs obsolete, but analysts at IDC say it may take a bit longer than previously expected. The growth in tablet shipments is forecast to be lower in 2013 than previously expected and to decrease even more in the following year.
The main reason for the change in the industry research firm's forecast is that larger smartphones as well as wearable devices are now expected to encroach on tablet market share. With some smartphones attaining screen sizes of 6 inches or more, they are almost as large as the smaller tablets, such as Google's new Nexus 7.
Going Down, But Not by Much
Although tablet growth will slow in 2013, the changes are not substantial. IDC has lowered its 2013 tablet shipment projections from 229.3 million to 227.4 million. Even with the decrease, overall growth from last year will reach 57 percent. However, the bigger story is whether this is the start of a trend.
"Year-on-year growth is beginning to slow as the tablet market approaches early stages of maturity," said IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani.
If IDC is correct, the tablet market is likely going to stop seeing massive sales increases each year.
The new sales forecasts come as a result of a weak second quarter that saw few product announcements, but the main reason for the change is connected to two newer markets, "phablets" and wearable technology.
Phones, Watches and Glasses
Tablets are great because they offer the ability to carry out more significant business or work-related tasks without using a bulkier computer. However, as smartphones become larger and more powerful, the benefit from having both a phone and tablet seems to be diminishing. A general lack of enthusiasm is also to blame for the slowing tablet sales. According to IDC, North America and Western Europe will see a more rapid change since they were the first to receive tablets.
Wearable technology, which some have called the new frontier of tech, is also contributing to the decrease in tablet sales. Since glasses or a watch can enhance the functionality of a smartphone, the power benefit that comes along with tablets is no longer as important.
There may be a major flaw with the IDC report, however. Nearly all the stats referenced in IDC's forecast are centered on iPad sales figures. With Apple selling fewer iPads in Q2 than expected, IDC is changing its projections.
However, a decrease in iPad sales does not necessarily correlate to a decrease in the overall tablet market. Instead, it may simply show that fewer people are interested in the iPad, which is in need of an update.