Is tablet market a sinking ship for Samsung, Apple, Lenovo and Intel

The global tablet market, where Samsung, Apple, Lenovo and Intel are trying to build their fortunes, is a sinking ship, according to some of the latest research reports.

The size of the global tablet market will dip to 140 million in 2021 from 207 million in 2015, according to ABI Research.

ABI Research says the substantial decline in tablet shipments in 2021 will be due to saturation, slow replacement cycles, influence of business purchases, and substitution.

China and other Asian markets are also seeing decreased demand for white box tablets due to shifts to branded tablets, as well as reliance on smartphones and phablets.

China is evolving, moving away from white box products to support local and global brand manufacturers.

Jeff Orr, research director at ABI Research, said: “As this behavior continues across other markets in Southeast Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America, the potential for white box tablets to remain viable will all but go away.”

ABI Research says the major, advanced economies of the world represented close to 63 percent of branded tablet shipments in 2015. By 2021, 57 percent of branded tablet shipments will come from emerging and developing economies.

Combined shipments of devices including PCs, tablets, ultra-mobiles and mobile phones will increase 1.9 percent to 2.4 billion units in 2016, according to Gartner. The PC shipment will drop 1 percent to 287 million units in 2016 and increase 4 percent in 2017.

More bad news for tablets

On November 6, 2015, a Gartner released a survey saying 17 percent of consumer respondents in mature markets intend to buy a tablet in the next 12 months.

Less than one in five users in mature markets is planning to purchase or upgrade a tablet. The tablet penetration has reached more than 66 percent of households in the U.S., with more than 25 percent of households having two or more tablets.

“Unless new compelling innovation or incentives to upgrade tablets are created, the churn of the mature installed base will continue to fall,” said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner.

This may be a warning for tablet market leaders such as Apple and Samsung.

The bad news is that many tablet users will never upgrade or buy a new tablet as phablets and / or two-in-one convertible PCs envelop the benefits of a tablet. Household penetration for tablets will be under 40 percent in mature markets.

India IT spending will grow 7.2 percent to $72.3 billion in 2016. Gartner said devices, which include mobile phones, PC’s and tablets, will account for almost 33 percent of the overall IT spend in India, and the devices  segment will grow 9.4 percent in 2016.

Vina Krishnan
[email protected]