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New form factors slow tablet growth

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Worldwide shipments of tablets and 2-in-1 devices are forecast to reach 221,8-million units in 2015, a decline of -3,8% from 2014, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. 

The new outlook follows two consecutive quarters of declining sales and represents a modest downward revision from the previous forecast of 234,5-million units and 2,1% year-over-year growth in 2015.

While IDC expects overall sales to decline in 2015, some segments of the product category are poised to experience strong growth.

“We’re seeing cellular-capable tablets and 2-in-1 devices experience important growth in certain parts of the world and we think this represents a huge opportunity for the entire tablet ecosystem,” says Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director: tablets at IDC.

“Those cellular-connected devices fill multiple needs for vendors and carriers around the world; they offer a quick solution to price and margin erosion, and when compared to smartphones, they offer a less expensive way for carriers to increase their subscriber base.”

Cellular-capable tablets and 2-in-1 devices still represent a small portion of the entire market but is expected to grow in 2015 and beyond. IDC forecasts that this segment will grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5,6% compared to WiFi-only devices, which will experience a negative five-year CAGR of -0,4%.

“A transition around size of the displays has also begun to take its course, with the share of small-screen tablets expected to drop from 64% of the market in 2014 to 58% in 2015, and declining to just under 50% by 2019,” says Ryan Reith, programme director: Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC.

“This illustrates the direct impact phablets are having on the market, as users with larger screen smartphones have tended to have less need for a tablet with a screen size comparable to their smartphone. This also has some impact on overall average selling prices (ASPs) as larger screen devices tend to cost more.”