No real surprises and whilst growth continues the market, compared to some of its previous frenzies, has been relatively subdued. In fact IDC’s first 3 quarters of the year show global shipments all within the 40-50 million range with Q1 being the highest so far.
IDC are somewhat critical of some of the white box products (in total they account for over 20% of the market according to Witsview). “These low cost Android-based products make tablets available to a wider market of consumers, which is good. However, many use cheap parts and non Google-approved versions of Android that can result in an unsatisfactory customer experience, limited usage, and very little engagement with the ecosystem. Android’s growth in tablets has been stunning to watch, but shipments alone won’t guarantee long-term success. For that you need a sustainable hardware business model, a healthy ecosystem for developers, and happy end users.” said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. We couldn’t disagree with that.
That of course is all about to change. Traditionally ie over the last 2 years Q4 shipments have been something like 50% up on Q3 with for example Amazon selling 5-6 million Kindle Fires against a rest of the year runrate of something like a million a quarter. Certainly here in the UK Tesco and Argos have come up with seasonal offerings and new products abound from, , Amazon Apple Google Microsoft and Samsung to name but a few!
We previously had thought annual shipments might reach 250 million but although NPD DisplaySearch reckon they could reach 255 million this is likely a minority view.
At the other end of the scale Witsview are talking about 186.7 million.
If, and it is of course a biggish if, the quarter produces 75 million tablets then using IDC’s historic figures we could reach over 215 million in the year.
We are pretty confident there will be several surprises along the way!