In the 12-month period from June 2012 to May 2013, the volume of tablets entering the SA marketplace more than doubled compared to the previous year, with Android OS devices representing more than half this market – a clear indication that this segment is making great strides.

This is according to Craig Fleischer, director of mobile communications at Samsung SA, who says that tablets are fast becoming the device of choice among South Africans when it comes to mobility.

“During the first quarter, Samsung has maintained strong position in the mobile supplier race, with great strides made in capturing market share during this period,” Fleischer says. “This achievement can be attributed to Samsung’s continued innovation and flexible approach to consumer needs. This adaptability is underpinned by the variety of screen sizes, hardware options and value-added service offerings available across the range.”

While a number of competitors have focused on a one-size-fits-all approach, Fleischer says Samsung has produced a product portfolio that caters for a multitude of consumer and enterprise requirements. The TouchWiz user interface overlaying Android, he says not only provides a consistent look and feel across Samsung devices, but also represents the ability to meet consumer needs for customised and relevant applications and services.

“Interestingly, while the 10-inch form factor was the preferred choice since its introduction into the SA market, we have witnessed a steady growth in popularity of the 7” and 8” versions in recent months,” Fleischer says. “According to the latest statistics, these smaller form factors now contribute to almost a third of the tablet market share. We have also noticed that new entrants in this space are creating a competitive pricing environment which is changing the market dynamic for leading brands. Since this segment is no longer being occupied by only a handful of manufacturers, consumers now have more choice than ever before and differentiation of offerings and value-added services will now determine which supplier is preferred over another.”

Another interesting trend, he adds, is the increase in demand for devices which offer Wi-Fi functionality.
Fleischer says that the education sector has also been identified as a key vertical that will contribute immensely to the growth and sustainability of the tablet device market. By carefully identifying and nurturing relationships with learning institutions, content providers and operators, he says Samsung supports a variety of initiatives within the education sector. This penetration of the market encompasses primary, secondary and tertiary education establishments and is supported by dedicated marketing and training resources within Samsung.

“Initiatives such as Samsung’s Smart School and Solar Powered Internet School have been awarded benchmark status by a number of education departments and private school groups,” he says. “Development of tablet devices to cater not only for educational needs, but moreover for business and personal use, will continue to define Samsung as a market leader intent on increasing the user experience.”