IDC trims tablet forecasts, expects wearables, 'phablets' to affect sales
Lowers shipment estimates by 1%, says emerging markets will account for majority of tablet market by 2017
Computerworld - Researcher IDC today slightly lowered its tablet shipment forecast for 2013 and beyond, saying that competing technologies, including larger-sized smartphones and futuristic wearable computing devices will steal some dollars that would have gone to tablets.
In its revised predictions, IDC trimmed 2013 tablet shipment expectations by 1% from 229.3 million units to 227.4 million.
The change also affected forecasts IDC has made for the years 2014-17. Today, IDC said global tablet shipments in 2017 will almost reach 407 million, about 1% less than a May estimate of 410 million.
IDC's projection for 2013, however, hinges on the tablet business having a bang-up back half of the year.
"A lower than anticipated second quarter, hampered by a lack of major product announcements, means the second half of the year now becomes even more critical for a tablet market that has traditionally seen its highest shipment volume occur during the holiday season," said Tom Mainelli of IDC in a statement.
Apple's iPad, for example, had a disappointing second quarter, with tablet shipments down 14% from the same period the year before. Like Mainelli, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained the downturn on the company's lack of a new iPad in the quarter. The first Retina-equipped iPad debuted in March 2012, and sales ballooned.
Along with slightly lower shipment tallies -- which IDC attributed to the influence of larger smartphones, often dubbed "phablets" by wags, and wearable accessories that link to smartphones -- the research firm also revised the timetable when emerging market dominate the business.
Phablets and wearables will impact developed markets -- the U.S., Western Europe and Japan -- before they do other regions, said Mainelli, and cause a faster-than-predicted slowdown there.
Where earlier this year IDC predicted that developed markets would hold a very narrow edge over emerging markets in 2017, today it flipped the two, saying emerging markets -- Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, China, Latin America and the Middle East -- will account for 51% of all shipments in 2017.
Not surprisingly, China was highlighted as one of the countries expected to drive tablet sales.
"Much of the long-term growth will be driven by countries like China where projected growth rates will be consistently higher than the worldwide average," added Jitesh Ubrani, another IDC analyst, in the same statement.
If IDC's estimates end up accurate, Apple will have to adapt to retain its diminishing share of the tablet business. While the Cupertino, Calif. company dominated the market with relatively high-priced devices until 2012, ever-cheaper models based on Android are continuing to drive down Apple's share.
The price competition will only get more fierce.
"We expect average selling prices to continue to compress as more mainstream vendors utilize low-cost components to better compete with the whitebox tablet vendors that continue to enjoy widespread traction ... despite typically offering lower-quality products and poorer customer experiences," Mainelli said.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- IDC drops tablet sales forecast, sees phablets encroaching on the market
- Samsung to offer 3 new tablets starting Feb. 13
- Tablets remain tops in American gift-buying plans
- 'Phablets' are eating into the tablet market, IDC says
- Apple springs Retina iPad Mini on customers
- The puzzling Lumia 2520 tablet: Will it disappear when Microsoft buys Nokia?
- Dell launches four new tablets -- all on Intel chips
- Few use tablets to replace laptops
- New Kindle Fire HDX's tech support button could push IT to yell 'Mayday!'
- Kindle Fire HDX tablets show big push for business users
Read more about Tablets in Computerworld's Tablets Topic Center.
- Enterprise Mobility Management Checklist Read this checklist for tips and considerations when creating your own Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) strategy.
- Comprehensive Advanced Threat Defense The hot topic in the information security industry these days is "Advanced Threat Defense" (ATD). This paper describes a comprehensive, network-based approach to...
- Advanced Threat Defense: A Comprehensive Approach In this interview, Peter George, president, General Dynamics Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions, explains why we need more than anti-malware, and what constitutes a comprehensive...
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- Client Management: Simplifying Life for System Admins Watch this brief webinar to hear how implementing a client management strategy not only overcomes common Apple-ization challenges related to data protection &...
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success! All Tablets White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!