Tablet sales growth is slowing in 2014 as new hardware buyers turn to alternative devices and existing users extend the lifetime of their tablets, according to Gartner, Inc. (www.gartner.com).
The research group estimates that tablet sales worldwide will reach 229 million units in 2014, an 11% increase from 2013, representing 9.5% of total worldwide sales of devices in 2014. In 2013, tablet sales grew 55%. Worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) for 2014 are estimated to reach 2.4 billion units in 2014, a 3.2% increase from 2013.
“The device market continues to evolve, with the relationship between traditional PCs, different form factor ultramobiles (clamshells, hybrids and tablets) and mobile phones becoming increasingly complex,” says Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
In the tablets segment, the downward trend stems from the slowdown in basic ultramobiles — new sales of iPads and Android tablets — and the lifetime extension of current tablets to three years by 2018. Gartner projects over 90 million fewer new tablet purchasers and 155 million fewer tablet replacements through 2018.
“Some tablet users are not replacing a tablet with a tablet, they are favoring hybrid or two-in-one devices, increasing its share of the ultramobile premium market to 22 percent in 2014, and 32 percent by 2018,” says Atwal.
The mobile phone segment will continue to grow in 2014 due to strong sales of lower-end smartphones, projects Gartner. Sales of basic smartphones (including midrange Android devices) are projected to grow 52% in 2014, while utility smartphone units (including low-end Chinese white box devices) will double.