Market research firm ABI Research predicts that tablet shipment is expected to reach 200 million units by end of 2014, which will mark a 20 percent increase in sales for the year. The report also stated it’s the developing markets that will be adding to the numbers this year, given the saturation that the more matured markets have already reached. As such, the bulk of new tablet sales in 2014 are predicted to come from the regions of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
Buyers in North America have already invested heavily in tablets and are unlikely to buy new ones anytime soon. The ABI Research report has stated that tablet shipments in North America will drop below 50 percent for the first time since the segment launchede. Rather, it is the first time buyers from developing markets who are expected to lead the surge in tablet buying in 2014.
As for specific tablet brands, the research finding has stated the iPad is expected to hold on to its position of strength, with Samsung coming in a distant second. Others who are expected to emerge as serious players in the tablet segment include Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Lenovo. Sony has stated they will focus more on tablets and other mobile devices this year after having washed their hands of the VAIO branded laptops. Tablets customized for use in a particular region are expected to catch up fast, which works in Android’s favor as it has already emerged as the biggest mobile device platform in 2013.
“One of the greatest opportunities this year is for development, manufacturing and marketing of tablets on a regional and even local level, which shakes up the vendor ecosystem of the past four years,” said ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr while speaking to TabTimes. It is this that Orr claims is the biggest factor that is going to work in favor of Android given the wide customizability that the platform offers.
“You can easily offer the Google related services on an Android device and make it specific to a country or region. Or you look at places like China where Google services are frowned upon or perhaps not allowed at all, they can still use Android to create a new app ecosystem,” said Orr.
Another trend is the continued dominance of the mini tablets, led by the extremely capable iPad Mini. The retina display version has already proven to be a big hit and consumer preference is expected to remain swayed towards the 8 inch devices. This could be contrary to the efforts of some companies to launch bigger 12.2-inch sized devices, such as the Galaxy Tab 12.2 from Samsung.