There is mounting evidence that the tablet boom is over. The iPad originally sold twice as many devices in its first four years on the market as the iPhone did – over 210 million between 2010 and 2014.
But sales are slowing down worldwide. The tablet market is expected to decelerate from the 52.5% growth it experienced in 2013, according to the International Data Corporation, the leading global provider of advisory services and market intelligence to the consumer technology and IT markets.
Apple has also released figures indicating a year-on-year drop of around 15% for sales of the iPad, and according to research from Gartner, one of the world’s leading information technology research companies , tablets have not moved up the Amazon market-share charts for some time now.
Reasons for the Slowdown Among Home Users
Some sources believe continued high growth in tablet sales was an unrealistic expectation in the first place. Horace Dediu, founder of Asymco research and consulting, notes that a slowdown after 40% ownership within the US market is relatively early compared to previous generations of technology such as microwave ovens. He states that tablets are unable to achieve the ubiquity of mobiles as they are just not as useful – ‘a tablet is a very compelling product, but isn’t of the same utility as a phone’.
Additionally, a new entry into the market, the phablet, may also be having an impact. This is essentially a smartphone with a larger screen and more capabilities, making it more like a tablet. With the increasing availability of these devices, fewer people will see a reason to also own a tablet, which would cost an additional couple of hundred pounds at least. This is borne out by analysts such as Benedict Evans from venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz, who states that consumers are happy enough using Samsung Galaxy phones or iPhones to do a range of tasks such as browsing the web, checking emails and playing games, and thus do not see a need for a tablet.
Similar Trend Among Business Users
The number of people purchasing tablets for business has also decreased or stopped growing; this is probably because it has become clear that they are currently unable to truly compete with laptops in terms of functionality. Creating presentations, analyzing data and writing reports are all more difficult to achieve quickly and effectively on a tablet. A key shortcoming, according to Jean-Louis Gassee, partner at Allegis Capital venture capitalists, is the lack of a proper filing system for saving and organizing documents.
More and more apps and utilities are becoming available for tablets which could address some of these issues, but of course it’s important that processes such as rigorous software testing are carried out by app developers, using firms such as http://www.bugfinders.com/
And Apple itself is confident that the slowdown can be reversed as tablet technology improves to compete better with PCs. CEO Tim Cook told analysts in April that he believes tablet sales will actually overtake PC sales within a few years.