Slower tablet market hints at fatigue, more traditional upgrade cycle

Slower tablet market hints at fatigue, more traditional upgrade cycle

Summary: The larger question here is whether developed markets will see tablet fatigue. Once everyone has a tablet---and you can argue they do---the upgrade cycle shifts.


The global tablet market can actually slow down and may be stumbling into a more traditional tech upgrade cycle that largely depends on the third and fourth quarters---much like other computing products.

According to IDC data, global tablet shipments fell 9.7 percent sequentially from the first quarter to the second quarter. This decline is hardly an Armageddon scenario---shipments were up 59.6 percent from a year ago---but IDC's data does hint that the tablet market is maturing a bit. And maturation typically runs into gravity at some point.

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IDC noted that the lack of Apple iPad product launches---in 2012 a new iPad launched in March---the tablet market sputtered a bit. Apple shipped 14.6 million units in the second quarter, down from 19.5 million in the first. Samsung shipped 8.1 million units in the second quarter, down from 8.6 million in the first.

The larger question here is whether developed markets will see tablet fatigue. Once everyone has a tablet---and you can argue they do---the upgrade cycle shifts. If the iPad mini lacks a retina display or something materially new will people really upgrade? Do you really need yet another Android tablet?

In other words, there is a dose of tablet fatigue that's possible. The smartphone market is already seeing it.

Earlier: Tablet shipments show signs of slowing in Q2

Once fatigue sets in, tech products increasingly rely on the second half of the year with the back to school and holiday seasons. IDC said that tablets are likely to pick up in the second half as new products are launched. The following chart highlights the obvious---cheap Android tablets are carpet bombing the market. It's also worth noting that Windows is making some progress in tablets.



Topics: Tablets, Android, Apple, iOS, iPad, Mobility, Samsung

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    Get Rid of Donald Trumps Ugly face from "You May Also Like"
    • If not the Donald

      Well, if not Trump, then who do you propose as the spokesman for nutty, fringe right, pseudo economic hysteria aimed at suckering rubes into making unwise, sky-is-falling, investment decisions?
  • Strategy Analytics gave 67% to Android

    "By any measurement, Android solidified its first place position. Of the entire tablet market, including white-box units -- which comprised 37% of all shipments -- Android's share climbed to 67% from 2012's 51.4%. Strip out the white box tablets and Android's increase, while on a slower pace, was still impressive: 52.9% in the second quarter, up from 43.4% in the first three-month stretch of 2013. "
    • You sound a tad bit worried, Mac

      I'm guessing you're worried that Android will never win, but that's just our take.
      William Farrel
      • Re: You sound a tad bit worried, Mac

        You seem to feel the need to respond to factual posts in an emotive way.
      • Wow

        So he posts an article showing that ZDNet is trying to skew things so it is all about the iPad and your response has no basis in fact.

        Seriously, the market usually measures trends year over year but, now that the iPad got whooped it is a quarterly measurement.

        Nope, sorry up 59% year over year is not a slow down, it is an explosion!
  • Cheaper device marching to notebooks too...

    ...which means more problems for Microsoft and Apple. Looks like Linux has already won the war.
    • Yawn. Trying to convince us

      or yourself? I think the latter, as facts always tend to dismiss your posts.

      Nice try, but thanks for playing! :)
      William Farrel
  • Comanies are now ...

    having to deal with how they treated customers on those first round of tablet purchases. If they failed to offer upgrades to tablet OSes for a reasonable period of time (ahem... Acer for one), then they may have customers that are looking elsewhere for a tablet vendor that will see them through an appropriate number or timeframe of upgrades (i.e. a couple of versions and/or 18 - 24 months would seem to me to be reasonable if Google Play devices are an example of what CAN be). They are also reviewing how well the devices held up. how much they had to pay for accessories, if accessories were readily available, and a host of related issues.
    • A huge portion of the populations

      Fails to run security updates....and you think they are going to hold grudges over OS updates. Wow.
      • Re: Fails to run security updates...

        Because the user experience with Microsoft products is... AWFUL.
  • Article: "Once everyone has a tablet---and you can argue they do"

    Please make your case that "everyone has a tablet". Do you believe that the ZDNet reader and, especially, commenter demographic is representative of the world? Or even the developed world?

    Most people on the planet [Earth] don't have a tablet. And, zooming in a bit, everyone in the developed world doesn't have a tablet. Even every household in the developed world doesn't have a tablet.

    Perhaps tablet (and smartphone) ownership is related to discretionary income. As tablet/smartphone prices continue to fall and data rates become more affordable, more people will jump on board. And, perhaps, miraculously, the economy will improve, helping things along.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Agreed. I don't own one.

      and I know a great many people that don't. Not because they can't afford one, but because they see no need for one.

      Though he may have meant that "Once everyone who WANTS a tablet owns one---and you can argue they do" which could make more sense in the contaxt of his blog.
      William Farrel
      • I don't own one but...

        A few days ago, my wife and I were walking along a busy road and in the tall grass, I found an iPad, the glass smashed along the side where it likely impacted the curb or road. Just like any road kill -- I let it be. Knowing Apple, it would be far more expensive to rehab the thing than it would cost to get a new one. So I let the electronic road kill be.

        I'll likely get a tablet when someone makes the device I want at the price I want to pay. Like laptops these days (I'm in the market and can't find one that doesn't compromise on some key feature), tablet manufactures seem to get things mostly right, but nobody nails the full list of desired features.
    • Thanks for this post

      Saves me the time of having to write it myself!

      "Most" people in this world gets me every time. If you make around $25,000 in annual income you rank in the top 1% of earners in the world. That's considered on the "poor" side in the US. I have to think most people will never have the means nor need for a tablet at the current growth in wealth disparities. An SUV or truck owner spends more in gas filling up an empty tank once than some families will see in a year.
  • Slower tablet market hints at fatigue, more traditional upgrade cycle

    This goes along with what I have been saying. Now we have the death of the tablet and its about time. I don't see an upgrade cycle happening. People tried the tablet, didn't like the form factor so there won't be upgrades.
  • othe factors

    I think the correct term in not fatigue but market saturation, those who will buy a table have already done so. Another issue is how one uses the tablet to check web, email or Facebook which doesn't offer any insensitive to upgrade.
    Another factor is the used market. How much will the used market eat into new sales?
    • Historical Pattern

      Market saturation occurs because there is always a finite market for any product. So there is usually a period of rapid growth when the price and availability puts the product witth reach of market and you are selling to mostly first time buyers. Eventually most sales will be replacement sales to current owners and the sales will slow down and possibly decline somewhat.
  • "Post-tablet" era?

    People find PCs more suitable to their needs?

    Well, at least this is how the slowing PC market is described just because people didn't have to replace their old PCs yet, but no one had a tablet yet to not hold on to.

    Many people already have tablets, and the hype is over, so those who don't yet have one are less likely to buy it soon. And those who have one are likely finding that while the device is useful, it still doesn't quite match up to all the promises. (Among other things, majority of web sites aren't quite tablet-friendly yet, and productivity applications are often still quite basic.)

    Whoever thought that the tablet-to-PC ratio would just keep growing indefinitely and at the same or increasing pace was deluding themselves and others around them. Unfortunately this describes many of the analysts who should know better by now. The ratio will keep growing, no doubt, but slower.
    Matjaž Miler
  • tablet slow down

    Does this means PC is dead? You should stop using post-PC then!