Tablet shipments forecast slashed by half as Western markets slow

IDC's latest estimates show mature markets are leveling off, but emerging markets could still power some significant growth.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
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.

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