Three million fewer tablet will be sold this year, says report
The UK will see a marked drop in sales of tablet devices in 2014, according to a report from CCS Insight. In its annual tablet forecast, the analyst house said it expects sales to decline from 17 million in 2013 to less than 14 million this year, as the demand for such devices finally reaches a tipping point.
The firm believes that over 43 percent of the population now owns a tablet, up from just 6 percent two years ago, and that this number will almost double by 2017, when the UK tablet market will be worth £2.2 billion. In the next two years however, the market will cool somewhat as growth eases off slightly, before returning more sharply in 2016. By 2017, when the lives of many users’ first devices will be coming to an end, CCS Insight is forecasting total UK tablet sales of around 20 million.
“It’s only natural that we will now see a cooling off in tablet sales for the next couple of years,” said Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight. “The next big wave of growth will come in two years when consumers who bought their first tablets in 2012 and 2013 start replacing them. In the meantime we expect people to turn their attention to replacing that old PC and their smartphone.”
According to Deloitte, over half of Britons now have access to some kind of tablet device, with cheaper alternatives such as Tesco’s Hudl and Argos’ MyTablet competing with the high-end devices. Such low-cost tablets have been pivotal in opening up the market to consumers, as many purchase a cheaper tablet first before upgrading later, a trend CCS believes will continue as consumers suffer “buyer’s remorse” as they realise that cheap tablets don’t perform as well as their more expensive cousins.
Its report calculates that smaller tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and iPad Mini accounted for 63 percent of sales in the UK in 2013, up from 34 percent in 2012 as the number of devices increased hugely.
In 2017, when the market peaks, CCS estimates that two out of three tablets sold will have a screen smaller than nine inches, as advances in screen quality and usability, coupled with low costs, make them a much more attractive proposition. Competition between smartphones and tablets will continue to heat up, with two tablets being sold for every three smartphones by 2017.
“Tablets have captured people’s imagination in a way that even mobile phones didn’t” says Koytcheva. “In just four years, almost half the population of the UK has now got a tablet. It took 14 years for mobile phones to become that popular.”
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