Tablet sales have been on the up and up but are forecast to slow, says Gartner, the technology research and advisory company.
In 2013, tablet sales grew 55 percent, but this is forecast to slow to 11 percent. It is estimated that tablet sales worldwide will reach 229 million units in 2014, up from 207 million in 2013.
Overall, sales of tablets will represent 9.5 percent of all devices sold in 2014.
Gartner says the reason for this is that people are extending the life of their tablets and have a wider variety of options available. New hardware buyers are turning away from tablets to alternative devices.
“Some tablet users are not replacing a tablet with a tablet, they are favouring hybrid or two in one devices,” says Ranjit Atwal, research director, Gartner.
Through to 2018, Gartner projects there will be over 90 million fewer tablet purchases and 155 million fewer tablet replacements. This comes down to a slowdown in new sales of ultramobiles and a lifetime extension of current models.
Gartner data also showed trends for mobile phones and operating systems. With more lower-end and affordable smartphones entering the market, mobile phone sales is set to grow in 2014. Basic smartphones will grow 52 percent in 2014 and utility smartphones will grow 50 percent. By 2018, Gartner expects nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones.
The operating system market is expected to grow 47 percent in 2014. Gartner estimates shipments of Android devices will reach over one billion in emerging markets, which is almost double 2013. This is expected to be largely due to sales of lower-cost products.
“The device market continues to evolve,” says Atwal. “With the relationship between traditional PCs, different form factor ultramobiles (clamshells, hybrids and tablets) and mobile phones becoming increasingly complex.”