Pick any colour tablet (but remember size matters)!

Fascinating forecast from the NPD group company Display Search of tablet shipments through 2017 released earlier this week.

We will try & do a little colour decoding! Health warnings abound as:

  1. There are many, how should we say, secondary & even tertiary suppliers out there
  2. Certain suppliers have a multiplicity of offerings
  3. Suppliers also have a habit of introducing new tablet screen sizes from time to time!
  4. The 8.9/11.6 and 7.7/10.1 inch colours are pretty similiar!

Click to enlarge

At a, sort of, macro level assuming Display Search are near the mark then:

  • No wonder Apple introduced the mini
  • Microsoft’s Surface is not getting much market share (<5%)
  • The iPad mini outsells the iPad maxi this year but possibly not by as much as our 60/40 ratio but gets there a year or two later
  • Amazon‘s Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (together with any other such screen sized tablets) look to be doing rather well
  • The 7 inch tablet is not, and will not be, as popular as we had thought
  • Apple continue to dominate the global market but may have slipped below 50% last year and may not regain it.

Display Search’s take is “The rapid development and adoption of new screen sizes is allowing both large and small brands to gain market traction in all regions and create new demand for tablet PCs. The tablet market has been led by Apple’s 9.7” iPad, but in 2013 a new class of small tablets will take over the market. Tablet PCs with 7-8” screen sizes are expected to account for 45%, or 108 million units of the market in 2013, overtaking the 9.7” size which will account for 17% share or about 41 million units.”

On a geographic basis they comment “As the variety and demand for new screen sizes increases, so will market growth in emerging markets. Having passed EMEA in 2012 to become the second-largest market for tablet PC shipments, China will have 27% of the global tablet market in 2013 with shipments of 65 million units, driven by small local brands. However, North America will remain the largest market with a 35% share (85 million units) in 2013. In both China and North America, tablet PC shipments surpassed notebook PC shipments in 2012.

Their global numbers are based on a 2013 forecast of 240 million units. This shows a year on year growth rate of 64% implying some 146 million sales / shipments in 2012 which is, we think, at the top end of many estimates. UPDATE In fact this is way ahead of most estimates but, whilst marginally anecdotal, the main power management chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor indicated today that it’s calendar Q4 revenues were some 20% above their (usually realistic) guidance due to “…. a stronger than anticipated end of year, underpinned by a strong late surge in demand for Smartphone and Tablet products”. Samsung similarly announced earlier in the week revenues and earnings above expectations. The maker of Galaxy smartphones and tablets said fourth quarter revenue likely rose 18 percent from a year earlier to 56 trillion won. Analysts said nearly 70 percent of the operating income for the quarter was likely generated by Samsung’s mobile division that makes and sells smartphones and tablets.  It may be that Q4 tablet shipments are way ahead of  many forecasts. We shall see!

Display Search’s headline is actually that tablets will outsell notebooks in 2013 but this doesn’t excite us terribly. They give a notebook figure of 207 million for 2013.

A fascinating analysis with possibly the next “happening” being Apple’s (earnings) release on January 23 when we, and a few others, will be interested in particular to see if they actually break down iPad sales between the mini and the maxi. We are convinced they won’t!

Disclosure – The CEO of this sites operating company The Information I Ltd is long in Dialog Semiconductor, with no positions in any of the other above companies.

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