Tablet sales are expected to decline by 3 million units in 2014 despite the increase of low-cost devices.
CCS Insight predicts that 14 million tablets will be sold over the next 12 months, down from 17 million in 2013. Although growth will be stunted in 2014, steeper growth is expected by 2016 when the existing 43% of the UK population that owns tablets will shop around for a new device. By 2017, CCS is forecasting sales figures of 20 million in the UK tablet market, almost doubling the current number of tablet owners.
Sales of smaller tablets will continue to flourish. 63% of tablet sales in the UK were smaller devices in 2013, up from 34% in 2013. In three years time, CCS estimate that two in three tablets sold will have screens smaller than nine inches.
Director of forecasting at CCS Insight, Marina Koytcheva, said: ‘It's only natural that we will now see a cooling off in tablet sales for the next couple of years. The next big wave of growth will come in two years when consumers who bought their first tablets in 2012 and 2013 start replacing them. In the meantime we expect people to turn their attention to replacing that old PC and their smartphone. Tablets have captured people's imagination in a way that even mobile phones didn't. In just four years, almost half the population of the UK has now got a tablet. It took 14 years for mobile phones to become that popular. Of course, the plunging prices have a lot to do with the success of tablets.
‘Prices won't keep falling indefinitely and we predict the market for good-quality branded tablets to remain. Generally, people get what they pay for. Cheap, low-end devices have fuelled the demand for tablets. However, CCS Insight predicts a wave of buyer's remorse as people realise that cheap tablets just don't perform as well as their more expensive cousins. We expect many of those who bought cheap tablets to upgrade to more expensive products next time around, as they grow frustrated by the limitations of what the low-end tablets can do.’