Smaller 7-8 inch tablets are expected to outsell larger devices for the first time this year, according to new figures from IDC.
The IDC tablet forecast predicts the smaller variety of tablets will account for 124.7 million units worldwide, compared with the expected 96.7 million units sold of 8 inch or larger tablets. However, the report suggested 'the rise of large phones could push consumers back towards larger tablets', although the forecast for 2017 has 7-8 inch devices outselling bigger alternatives by just over 50 million units.
The wider landscape shows a 53.5% rise in tablet sales this year compared with 2012. In 2013, 221.3 million units, which was just short of the forecast of 270.5 million. By 2017, shipments are expected to peak at 386.3 million units, lower than the previous prediction of 407 million tablets.
IDC research director Tom Mainella said: ‘In some markets consumers are already making the choice to buy a large smartphone rather than buying a small tablet, and as a result we've lowered our long-term forecast. Meanwhile, in mature markets like the U.S. where tablets have been shipping in large volumes since 2010 and are already well established, we're less concerned about big phones cannibalizing shipments and more worried about market saturation.’
Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst for the Worldwide Tablet Tracker, added: ‘For months, Microsoft and Intel have been promising more affordable Windows tablets and 2-in-1 devices. This holiday season, we expect a huge push for these devices as both companies flex their marketing muscles; however we still don't expect them to gain much traction. We're already halfway through the holiday quarter, and though there have been some relatively high-profile launches from the likes of Dell, HP, and Lenovo, we've yet to see widespread availability of these devices, making it difficult for Windows to gain share during this crucial period.’