UK tablet market to 'slump'

20 January 2014
LONDON: Tablet sales in the UK will decline by 3m in 2014 as more consumers move away from buying cheap and underperforming devices, new research has predicted.

After two years of explosive growth, analysts CCS Insight expects the market to cool off for a couple of years as UK consumers display "buyer's remorse" about their adoption of low-end tablets.

It predicts UK tablet sales will drop to less than 14m this year from the 17m sold in 2013, but will then recover from 2016 onwards after taking "a breather" from its peak last year.

By 2017, CCS Insight predicts total tablet sales will reach 20m in the UK and that two-thirds will have a screen of 9 inches or smaller.

Maria Kotcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight, said the next big wave of growth will come in two years when consumers who bought their first devices over the last couple of years begin to replace them.

In the meantime, she said, consumers will concentrate on replacing their old PCs and smartphones, although she expected the market for good-quality branded tablets to remain.

She said: "We expect many of those who bought cheap tablets will upgrade to more expensive products next time round as they grow frustrated by the limitations of what low-end tablets can do."

More than 43% of the UK population now owns a tablet, up from just 6% in 2012, and it is expected that this will grow to 86% by 2017.

Dan Calladine, head of media futures at Aegis Media, recently argued in his 10 trends for 2014 paper on warc.com that there will be growing polarisation in a number of areas this year, including high end tablets versus cheaper commodity products.

Data sourced from CCS Insight; additional content by Warc staff
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