Tablet sales slow, but positive growth expected through 2019

Tablet sales remain robust, but their growth is slowing as the market begins to become saturated and sway toward an increasing consumer affection toward phablets (see this related story on how screen size is affecting online video plays).

Researcher IDC said global sales growth likely would slip to 2.1% with some 234.5 million units shipping in 2015. That’s up from 229.7 million in 2014.

The slowdown follows on the heels of the first Y/Y drop in worldwide tablet shipments in the fourth quarter of 2014, something that prompted IDC to scale back its five year forecast for tablets.

“Despite the growing popularity of phablets, there still remains a portion of the market that wants to use a larger device so they can tailor their experience to the appropriate screen size,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “Meanwhile, an increasing number of vendors behind small tablets are reducing prices and adopting features like voice calling to entice consumers to purchase their products over competing phablets, making the dynamics of phablets vs voice-capable tablets an interesting one to watch.”

IDC expects the market to continue to grow, especially as demand in the commercial sector increases, and as Microsoft slowly gains a foothold.

In terms of platforms, Android will remain the leader, with close to two-thirds of the market over the course of the forecast.

IDC expects tablet pioneer, and former market leader, Apple to see its volume share of the market decline in 2015, reaching levels below that of the past three years. Windows, despite modest adoption to date, is expected to gain significant share over the course of the forecast, growing from 5.1% in 2014 to 14.1% in 2019.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn