The acceptance of something as the common wisdom, such as the ascendency of tablet PCs, is no reason to stop paying attention to it. Indeed, once the spotlight is turned off and marketers and technologists ply their trade more deeply, the progress may actually accelerate, but mainly go unseen.
That thought comes to mind in the world of tablets. It’s no news flash that tablets have gone in a few short years from being marginal to one of the most common form factors. The reality may be that progress if anything has sped up during the past couple of years.
Several recent studies illustrate that worldwide acceleration. ZDNet and other sites last week reported on a study by Pew Internet Research. The firm found that in less than a year, from November, 2012 to last month, tablet ownership in the U.S. jumped from 25 percent to 35 percent. (If ebook readers are thrown in, the percentage rise during the period is 35 percent to 43 percent.)
More evidence of tablet growth can be found in a report published last month by Transparency Market Research. The firm found that last year 34.2 million tablets were shipped. The number will grow to 71.6 million by 2018, which is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1 percent from 2012 to 2018. The firm noted an interesting and expected fact: In 2010, Apple tablets accounted for more than 80 percent of shipments. Android will surpass iOS in 2017. So tablets have gone from being more or less a one-trick (or vendor) pony to an entire stable.
Gartner also notes the tablet trend. The group released research last week that predicts that worldwide tablet growth will be 42.7 percent this year, which translates into 184 million units. PC shipments, meanwhile, will decline 11.2 percent compared to last year. That slowdown is 3.9 percent more than the 7.3 percent decline that Gartner predicted in April.
The overall worldwide growth is illustrated with looks at various regions. For instance, the Telegraph reported earlier this month on research by eMarketer that revealed that one-third of the population of the United Kingdom, 20 million people, use a tablet at least one time per month. More than half of the population in the UK is expected to use a tablet regularly by 2017, the firm predicts.
In India, according to the Business Standard, about 70 vendors, some domestic and some Indian, shipped 1.5 million tablets. The market is expanding rapidly, according to the story:
The overall growth in shipments of Tablets in the India market registered at 107.4% year-on-year (2Q CY 2013 over 2Q CY 2012) growth, but a more moderate 27.2% quarter-on-quarter (2Q CY 2013 over 1Q CY 2013) increase due to seasonal factors, according to CMR’s India Quarterly Tablet PC market review for second quarter.
The story offered interesting insight into the dynamics of the market. During the second quarter, 43.4 percent was controlled by Samsung, Datawind and Micromax. The other 56-plus percent is a free-for-all, with 13 vendors shipping more than 20,000 units.
Growth will continue as tablet prices drop and innovative marketing evolves. While the growth of phablets may send a cloud or two onto the horizon, the future looks as good as ever for tablets. Or, perhaps, even better.