After a blockbuster 2013, which saw the worldwide tablet market grow by 52.5 percent, things are set to cool down this year, according to a new report from the International Data Corporation (IDC). In 2014, the tablet market is expected to grow by a mere 7.2 percent, and the year will also mark the first annual decline in shipments for Apple’s iPad.
According to IDC, the slowdown in demand for iPads, as well as in the overall tablet market, is not surprising as devices have grown more sophisticated and users, who tended to replace old tablets with news ones every two to three years, are now holding on to their devices for longer, sometimes as much as four years.
“We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet lifecycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computing tasks,” Ryan Reith, a program director at IDC, said in a statement.
According to IDC, Android-powered tablets are expected to corner most of the global market by the end of 2014, while Apple's iPads are projected to come in second.
PC Outlook Remains Cautious
IDC also provided estimates on the worldwide market for personal computers (PCs), predicting that overall PC shipments would fall by 2.7 percent in 2014, a slight improvement over the previous forecast of a 3.7 percent decline.
“In the best case for PCs, we'd see a significant wave of replacements as users who spent on phones and tablets in recent years decide they really need to update their PC,” Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC’s Worldwide PC Trackers, said in a statement. “Features like touch or convertibility, as well as Windows 10 could make systems more versatile and appealing, along with lower prices.”
Smartphones Heading For Growth
While tablets and PCs struggle with waning demand, the worldwide smartphone market “is heading for certain growth,” IDC said, adding that the overall smartphone market is expected to expand by 19.3 percent in 2014 to reach a total of 1.2 billion units shipped by the end of this year.
In the third quarter of 2014, India became the fastest growing market for smartphones in the Asia Pacific region with a quarter-on-quarter growth of 27 percent and an annual growth of 82 percent. Overall, 72.5 million mobile phones were shipped in the third quarter in India, representing a 9 percent year-on-year growth, according to IDC.