Tablets to See Slow Resurgence
Tablet sales declined substantially in 2015, but they aren't down for good, according to one market research firm. Nevertheless, their short-term growth will be slower than previously expected.
Although the outlook for tablets has turned slightly grim of late — with sales in 2015 dropping to about $55 billion compared with $68 billion in 2014 — market research firm ABI Research is still calling for a compound annual growth rate of about 3 percent through 2020. That's down slightly from the previous forecast, but still positive. Revenues for manufacturers are expected to remain flat this year as pricing pressure increases, and the installed base of users is expected to shrink in the near term.
"We expect the global installed base to decline primarily due to older devices in most developed market economies aging out faster after purchase than replacement devices being acquired and new products being shipped into emerging market economies," according to Jeff Orr, research director at ABI Research. "Major advanced market economies will represent about 65 percent of branded tablet shipments in 2015, down from more than 68 percent in the previous year."
Orr also noted that larger tablets — those with screens bigger than 10 inches — will have little impact on sales.
"Fifty-seven percent of branded tablet shipments in 2015 had displays measuring between 7 inches and 8.9 inches, with more than 23 percent of those shipments measuring in at 10 inches or above," he noted in a prepared statement. "However, the introduction of 12-inch plus tablets in 2015 is not expected to shift the buying trend back to larger tablet displays. The prices of 7-inch and 8-inch tablets remain compelling as the market sweet spot for the foreseeable future."