Gartner: ‘Troubled’ tablet market set to grow just 8pc this year

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Analyst firm’s forecasts back up what British research firm, CCS Insight, reported in July

Gartner says that the tablet market will grow by just eight per cent this year after a “troubled year” in 2014.

There will be 233 million tablets sold globally this year according to the research firm. This compares with the 216 million it estimates were sold last year and the 259 million units it expects the market will buy in 2016.

While globally, Gartner said it expects the market to grow, the decline of the UK tablet market was forecast by CCS Insight in July. It said it expected tablet sales to slump by 14 per cent last year to 12 million tablets in 2014.

It appears that consumers are unwilling to commit to the two year buying cycle which is the norm in the smartphone market.

“The collapse of the tablet market in 2014 was alarming,” said Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal. “In the last two years global sales of tablets were growing in double-digits.

“The steep drop can be explained by several factors. One is that the lifetime of tablets is being extended – they are shared out amongst family members and software upgrades, especially for iOS devices, keep the tablets current. Another factor includes the lack of innovation in hardware which refrains consumers from upgrading.

In the mobile phone segment, Gartner is predicting that almost two billion (1.97 billion) mobile phones will be sold in 2016. The market will grow by 2.3 per cent this year from its current level of 1.8 billion to 1.9 billion.

Gartner research director Annette Zimmermann said that the smartphone market was polarising itself between the high- and low-end price points.

She added: “On one hand, the premium phone with an average selling price at $447 in 2014 saw growth dominated by iOS, and on the other end of the spectrum you have Android and other open OS phones’ growth area in the basic phone segment, where the average phone costs $100. For the midrange smartphones, the market opportunity is becoming increasingly limited.”

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