Tablet shipments forecast slashed by half as Western markets slow

Tablet shipments forecast slashed by half as Western markets slow

Summary: IDC's latest estimates show mature markets are leveling off, but emerging markets could still power some significant growth.

(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

There are likely to be fewer tablets shipped this year than previously expected, according to latest estimates.

Research firm IDC lowered its tablet projections on Friday for the full year down to 233 million shipments. That's a 6.5 percent year-over-year growth rate, compared to the 12.1 percent growth rate previously expected.

While Western markets are seeing flat growth for 2014, the rest of the world — including emerging and developing markets — will see a 12 percent growth. That's because smaller tablets in the less-than-8-inches size are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to a lower average selling point.

Region 2013 Actual 2014 Forecast 2018 Forecast
North America &
Western Europe
25 percent 0 percent 4 percent
Rest of world 88 percent 12 percent 5 percent

"When we start digging into the regional dynamics, we realize that there is still a good appetite for this product category," IDC's Jean Philippe Bouchard said in remarks. 

"While mature markets like North America and Western Europe will combine for flat unit growth in 2014, the remaining regional markets will generate 12 percent unit growth over the same period," he added.

IDC said the evolving tablet usage in emerging markets, particularly the less-than-8-inch devices, will fuel unit growth, thanks to their cheaper prices.

Although North America and Western Europe will continue to drive significant revenue from the tablet market — at least in terms of dollars spent, most of the global tablet shipments will drop in the rest of the world.

"We expect the rest of the world to account for the majority of shipments in the years to come," IDC's Jitesh Ubrani said.

Topics: Tablets, Android, iOS, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Keep in mind...

    Even if tablet shipments is halved, it's still not to far away from reaching and eventually passing PC shipment numbers. For only a four year old computing 'device'.

    So long as there's a need for smart phones, there will always be a need for tablets (extension of smart phones).
    • Different markets

      Tablets are mostly for viewing media while PCs are productive devices. Completely different markets. The palm pilot was the first successful one so we're closer to 20 years and not 4.
      Buster Friendly
      • Blurry Lines

        Maybe different but very, very blurry lines separate them.
        • Between what?

          Between a tablet and PC? The difference is very clearly the input devices. With such poor input capability a tablet really only makes a good output device. You could add those input devices but then you're just carrying around a PC in pieces.
          Buster Friendly
          • Poor input for who?

            It all depends on one's computing needs. I know plenty of family members that uses a tablet for the majority (if not all) of their computing needs. Imputing emails every day, inputting text, social, communication, manipulating photos etc. this is all without an optional keyboard.....the traditional x86 PC was actually overkill for their use case. Let's not generalize. For many the tablet is very much their PC.

            Poor input for you because YOUR computing needs are different, it may not be for someone else.
          • Markets

            The thread is about markets. Actually the article is about markets. It is not talking about hardware configurations.
          • Buster Friendly: "poor input capability"

            Voice input is constantly improving. Thus, the need for input with a keyboard may not be necessary. Even editing a voice transcription could be done by voice whilst moving through the text.

            I have no trouble imagining using voice, which gets transcribed automatically, to respond to an email or message. Or navigating through a form and using voice to fill in the blanks. All of this is most likely already happening today (although I don't personally use voice transcription).

            Let's not forget that Windows 8 introduced multi-touch to large monitors used with desktop PCs. And voice input on the desktop has also been supported for quite some time. A "PC" is not defined by the nature of the input devices used.

            Many people use Skype or similar to convert their desktop systems into phones. And many people use their smartphones to edit documents. Smartphones, phablets and tablets are all PCs, along with desktops, laptops and hybrids.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Re: Between What

            My PCWORLD is already in pieces. The only physical connection being between the case and monitor.

            My current tablet is quad core, 2.3 GHz, and typically gives me 10 Mb data connections.

            Between the stylus and a very usable virtual keyboard it's pretty nice for light content generation out of the box.

            Adding a small stand, full sized mouse and compact keyboard doesn't even crowd my messenger bag.
      • Why replace a tablet, a three year old one does rhe same basic thing

        I totally agree. Besides who wants to replace their three year old tablet with a new one that basically does the same thing.
        As my P C is still my productivity tool that is the device that is being replaced this year. Even P.C. s do not have to be replaced as often, a five year old technology P C can still do most things for the average person.
        I know, I know, the i-Kiddies will all want to replace their iPhones with new ones but I do not think that those that are not already part of the I clan are any longer joining it.
        As for the "bring your own device" fad, we are stopping that this year. It causes far more issues than it is worth.
        • As long as the tablet continues to receive security updates or OS upgrades

          It really depends on the use of the tablet. Online banking and other online financial transactions should not be conducted on a device that is no longer receiving support.

          As an example, Android tablet upgrade support seems to be provided for two years (the best case) or less, unless one installs an Android mod such as CyanogenMod and keeps the device up-to-date. Most Android tablet users don't install mods after support from the tablet manufacturer/carrier ends. iOS upgrade support for the iPad, even though Apple doesn't have a policy, seems to be around three years.

          In the case of enterprises and SMBs, there may be company-private information involved. And in the case of the government, there may be classified or otherwise private information involved.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Boy are most of you folks under experienced.

            How many of you have actually owned all of the following, not one but all of these:
            1. A Windows 8.1 Tablet.
            2. A Windows RT Tablet.
            3. An Android Tablet.
            4. An Apple iPad of whatever series.
            5. A desktop PC ( Apple or Windows or Linux.)
            6. A Netbook.
            7. A Laptop.

            I am seeing a lot of posts that by their description of others shows a complete absence of experience with most of these.

            I am going to talk about my final choice after using Macintosh desktop PCs only, Windows PCs in desktop, laptop, Tablet and netbook form factors, iPads, Android phones, Galaxy Tab 10 and 7 with Bluetooth keyboards, Surface RT with keyboard cover.

            I sold all my laptops, my netbook, and both my Galaxy Tabs last year after I first got a Surface RT and loved it until I tried to set up email for my IMAP account. The first iteration of the Surface RT had Home and Student Office without Outlook on its desktop. They did say that later they would add an IMAP capable scaled down version of Outlook for the Surface but I bought in January 2013, and had my Galaxy Tab 10.1 and sold the 7" Galaxy Tab as too small for me. So my wife got the Surface in lieu of her Galaxy and I used the Galaxy which did at least get and allow me to respond to emails. I tell you that because it is important for you folks to know that the limitations of the iPad and RT using phone OS' and processors that cannot work with OSX or Windows x86 programs just apps and in the case of the surface, a preloaded Office made just for it. I was about to make us a Surface for the Wife and a new Android for me as I thought the Windows 8 tablets were like the Surface and Android tablets I owned, and the iPad I had for work for a while. But I went down and saw the HP Envy x2 after reading about it and a $75 coupon here on ZDNET and bought one as it had a keyboard dock and a giant 11.6" screen. It undocked into a full blown tablet. I loved it and thought that the dual core Atom Z2760 1 MB cache SoC was adequate and was a full blown computer I could load my programs on. 64GB SSD and a micro SD with my music, and loaded my paid for version of MS office 2010 ( I have two three seat licenses for Office for six computers covered) I uninstalled the laptop before selling. I had a regular Win 7 desktop then bought an Acer All In One (AIO) 23" and within a few months realized it was not going to work so I decide3d to spend more than I ever had and got the Dell XPS 2720 AIO with quad core i7, SSD and Hard drive, Thunderbolt port, six USB 3 ports, 8GB of RAM, and quad HD. Most important was the 27"touch screen. Those with full Windows 8.1 tablets know how touch enhances Windows. Let me be perfectly clear. My Dell 2720 is nothing but a giant Windows 8.1 touchscreen tablet that is on a stand. All of the ports and DVD burner are on the tablet part just like a smaller tablet. I loved it and had just sold the Surface RT and my Galaxy Tab 10.1, moved my old primary desktop into the guest bedroom as my spare in addition to my wife's regular Win 7 desktop. I bought her a new tablet to replace her Surface, a Lenovo Lynx 11.6" tablet that also was the lightest I have ever held and outperformed my HP x2. That all complete in mid 2013. This year I watched the new Z3700 series of Atom SoCs come out with quad cores and 2 MB of cache and tried one and indeed it was snappier despite the same 2GB of RAM. I bought refurb Dell Venue 11 Pro with 8,1 and Office home and student. Even though it had a mail app that handled IMAP emails I loaded up my Outlook 2010 from one of my licenses.

            The Dell Venue 11 Pro has a full size USB 3 port that handles all external drives DVD burners, flash thumb drives, and regular desktop USB wireless keyboard and mouse dongles. It also has a micro USB that is only for charging not data so I can work even if I forgot to charge with a wireless keyboard and mouse. The Venue also has an HDMI out and the micro SD card port can handle SDXC cards to 64GB which I bought and transferred my music to it. I can put my Venue on a tablet stand that elevates it, with a small full size keyboard and mouse dongle attached and do everything I do on my desktop. In that configuration it is an AIO not a tablet. But I also use the onboard virtual keyboard a lot. For travel I do like my Logitech K-400 keyboard with built in touchpad to the left.

            So folks, get with today. The Surface Pro 3 i7 will out perform any laptop from before the Surface Pro line debut in October 2012. It can use and external mouse and keyboard if you don't like the magnetic one for a hundred bucks more, especially if like me you have several extra wireless desktop sets.

            So until you use a Tablet PC running Windows 8.1 with one of the great new Atom Quad core SoCs, or if you need more speed you can get one with an i3, 5, or i7 just like any other Windows computer in the Laptop and desktop form factors.

            The only difference is that the screen is smaller. I can run protoshop or even video editing on my Venue but for Video an i5 or i7 Srface 3 with 8 GB of RAM would be better. Rendering would likely crash my Venue 11 Pro. But I have my 27 inch i7 tablet on a stand with a quad HD beautiful touch screen on it. The Windows Tablets run the gamut just like the laptops and desktops do. From those best for light use, to the top line powerhouse gaming units. And the Windows tablets also run from $349.99 on sale price for a great ASUS T100 with a quad core Atom Z3775 that turbos up to 2.4 gHz, to a $1700 powerhouse Surface 3.

            Folks, many of you are showing your ignorance. These ain't your daddy's tablets anymore.

            Now Apple has neither a tablet that can load their PC programs, and does not have a desktop or laptop with a touch screen.

            For tablets I am through buying the ones with cellphone OS' but can't make calls. I would have kept my RT which has that if that is what I wanted. Now I am looking forward to getting rid of my last Android devices, our two phones, and getting Windows phones as soon as the HTC 1 in windows comes in with Verizon and I can try it.
          • Left out

            I posted

            Now Apple has neither a tablet that can load their PC programs, and does not have a desktop or laptop with a touch screen. I forgot to add that they have no micro SD card slot in their tablets or phones, and no USB ports for Apple OSX keyboards. Also my Dell Venue tablet back comes off so their owners like me can buy and replace the battery instead of it being a disposable device later.
            I am not anti Apple but I am accustomed to having 32GB of my mp3 music everywhere I go. You can't do that with Apple without buying an iPod.

            For the price of a 32 GB or the $29.99 I just paid for a 64GB micro SDXC card, I can have all my music I need of my 119 GB of music. I do not need an iPod, especially for the price of one with 64GB. Apple is way too slow. MS saw the futility and just dropped the Zune as you will see Apple do soon or lose both the tablet and Cell phone wars. I would own them but they don't have any devices that meet my needs. My tablet PCs have it all. Easily exchanged SD cards for storage expansion, that are made on my desktop and is fully compatible with my tablet PCs. Replaceable batteries in my phones and one of my three tablets, and Cortana.

            There are those whose needs Apple products satisfy, just not mine.
      • Buster Friendly: "Tablets are mostly for viewing media"

        Am curious, Buster, did you work at DEC in the 80s and 90s?
        Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Tablets are..

      ...simply another simpler form of computing. I see no clear rupture between tablets and PCS. Some tablets like many Windows tablets are simply small handheld fully capable PCS. For some, using a tablet is like using an ultra-portable PC that does only the very simple things they need. Except for Surface pro tablet users who can do it all.

      Keeping specific data on Tablets sales versus PC sales is interesting but it doesn’t indicate much on computing needs except maybe that more and more people are doing less on their computing device than a full PC can do and that they want to do it while being mobile.
      PCS are not dead, they can simply do too much for many and they are chained to a power plug.
      • Tablets are...

        becoming PCs, and therefore, they will cease to be called tablets.
        • Tablets are personal computers (PC)

          Tablets are already personal computers (PC), they are just not becoming x86 PCs. There are two class of tablet computing, those based on mobile smart phone architecture and those that fall into the x86 desktop OS (Mac) category.
          • If one wants to be picky and silly, then, high-end calculators are also PCs

            but, they're not really PCs in the everyday understanding of what constitutes PCs in the consumer and business world.

            Neither the iPads nor the Android tablets, can be considered computing devices that can be used in the traditional sense, as understood for the last 40 years. Tablets which are designed for media consumption and internet-connected services, are not PCs in the traditional sense.

            However, some of those devices are growing-up to attain the traditional computational capabilities of the PCs of old. The current iPad and most current Android devices, are still media consumptions and internet dependent devices. When they too grow up, they will have become PCs.
          • What constitutes a "PC" is the use case?

            Times have change from the early days when the term "PC" was coined to define a friendlier cheaper personal version of the mainframe computer. How does the average user use a PC (personal computer) today? Youtube, Facebook and other social sites. Casual games. Email. Web browsing. Shopping. Watching movies. Listening to music. Pretty much everything that can now be done with tablets and smart phones today. Granted you are not going to be typing up a novel on a tablet but what percentage PC user does? The majority of the general PC use case can be done on a tablet 'device'.
          • Basically, a tablet is just the "smarts" that's used to link a person into

            TV and internet type usage. It's just a step above the "smart" side of the "smart TV". Neither type of device can be categorized as a PC.
    • Nah

      The best thing about the tablet was the fact that you could work on it for 8 to 10 hours at once without a charge.

      Now, there are laptops that do this and they're a whole lot more powerful so, you can do a whole lot more with them.

      These tablets will slip down to Netbook type numbers.