back to article Double-digit tablet growth spurt is OVER, say pundits

Global fondleslab sales are levelling out with a smaller percentage point increase in the number of people set to purchase tablets this year than in 2014, according to analyst house Gartner. Last year sales rose just 11 per cent to 216m. This year market growth is expected to slow down further, with an eight per cent increase …

  1. Stuart 22

    Yea, dunnit, move on, there's more to see elsewhere ...

    I bought my daughter a tablet four years ago, myself three years ago and my partner two years ago. I guess that puts us ahead of the curve for most families in the UK. The prescient point is we still all use the original devices. We have no plans to replace unless they break.

    My use of mine (10") has decreased - it has got sandwiched between a 5" phone and a 11" Chromebook. The phone is always to hand so it is seldom worthwhile trying to remember where and when you put the tablet on charge. If you do need a bigger screen or actually need to type something then you might as well go get the Chromebook.

    Tablets are great but so are all mobile devices. Their importance has diminished and most of us have got one already. So I do pity the salesman.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yea, dunnit, move on, there's more to see elsewhere ...

      Well we bought one too but it is rarely used. I don't let the kids use it out of my sight so they prefer the PC, or the 2nd TV.

      I prefer a PC too as it gets me away from the noise of the kids :-) It's also got a nice big screen, decent speakers and a handy keyboard.

      I thought I'd use the tablet for looking up things in a hurry or on a whim but I've found I don't do that as often as I thought and in most cases I may as well do that on my phone.

      I don't think we'll be buying another one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yea, dunnit, move on, there's more to see elsewhere ...

      I bought new 2 x new iPhone 6+, 2 new iPads (an Air 2 and a Mini 3) and a new Retina iMac all last year.

      Just saying.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yea, dunnit, move on, there's more to see elsewhere ...

        That's nice......

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yea, dunnit, move on, there's more to see elsewhere ...

          Why, thank-you very much.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yea, dunnit, move on, there's more to see elsewhere ...

      Yeah, I think I have six or seven tablets. Not quite sure if I'm slowing down yet, the prices still seem to be dropping. $99 is a sweet spot for a decent tablet. I've had to start buying the 5-outlet USB power bricks to clean up the power cabling.

      Didn't I read somewhere that Intel is dropping their tablet subsidy in 2015? Somebody said it was about $7B so far at about $53 a pop. So if the prices are set to rise, then 'Yeah, I'm done.'

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the novelty has now worn off, and people have started to realise they're not as good as they thought.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      good as they first thought

      Tablets are good consumption devices. no so good at creation.

      for a lot of people this is all they need. If they bought them with this in mind then your assumption is wrong.

      My tablet is used mainly as an e-book reader. The 4:3 screen ratio is perfect. It also holds apprx 5GB of PDF documents. The widescreen nature of most mobiles is not ideally suited for that sort of use (IMHO).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: good as they first thought

        If they bought them with this in mind then your assumption is wrong.

        Yep. Only the bulk of people probably didn't. Look at all the adverts for them - they make out you can do anything with them - the technically naive will believe it. For example, there was one that even claimed it's "the tablet that will replace your laptop."

        They buy one, to replace their shitty virus ridden Windows PC, only to find out it's awkward to even type a simple email.

        For reading tablet-friendly sites, PDF, playing the odd game and reading emails they're great - it's what I use mine for. If mine broke, however, I wouldn't miss it - I'll probably get a Chromebook if I had to replace it.

        1. WylieCoyoteUK
          Thumb Up

          Re: good as they first thought

          Yes, you are in the main, right.

          Like Netbooks before them, Tablets fit certain niches very well, but they are not the all purpose devices they were touted to be.

          I have just replaced my 2.5 yr old Samsung 10" tablet (which replaced a 4 yr old Netbook). With a Sony 10" Android tablet with a faster processor, more storage and more memory.

          I find it invaluable.

          I use it for reading, surfing, email, etc. I can carry software, firmware and manuals for all of the 6 manufacturers' hardware and software I support in the field. Best point: it weighs less than 500g.

          With a USBOTG cable and a USB stick, I can use it for 99% of the stuff I need when away from my desk.

          My laptop mostly stays in the boot of the car nowadays, but in a case with its charger it weighs over 3Kg.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: good as they first thought

        @Steve Davies 3 - on the other hand, we have Kindles for reading eBooks, we have notebooks for doing work and we have mobile phones for out-and-about.

        I have tried using a tablet and a smartphone to read eBooks, but the backlit screen is not conjusive to long reading sessions.

        That said, I've just replaced my work desktop with a Surface Pro 3 and docking station, connected to 2 external 24" monitors. It works great as a desktop replacement (replacing a 2010 Core i5 with 4GB RAM and 1TB HDD with a 2014 Core i5 (mobile), 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD). It is also great for on the move, either typing notes or taking notes with the stylus.

        I wouldn't have bought a "just a tablet" device, but the combination of the SP3 makes it an ideal device, for my circumstances. And that will probably last me the next 4 or 5 years, unless it breaks down.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: good as they first thought

        Are some of you people assuming that one must choose a tablet *or* a laptop? As opposed to purchasing several of each? As well as a smattering of desktops?

        Yes, I agree. It is very difficult to insert a BluRay disc into a 7-inch tablet. So don't buy one. ?

  3. hitmouse

    The only new tablet I would buy is one that has an A4 or bigger screen. I've got my "book" tablet and a phablet which will get replaced as needed, but I'm in no hurry for either.

  4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    "The collapse of the tablet market in 2014 was alarming"

    Funny, I would have thought that a "collapse" would indicate a decline in the numbers sold. But no! they're still increasing, just not as fast.

    What this indicated is that marketing bods expect too much, and do not understand their markets. No sales market can grow forever, and even if the devices only lasted a year, you would get to a point where sales were stable and never increased. As it is, most tablets last more than a year (mine is nearly three years old and still doing what I need it to do), so the market will saturate, at which point you just get replacement sales.

    It's the same as the TV manufacturers thinking that the bump in sales due to replacement of CRT TVs by flat panel ones would go on forever.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Piro

    People who wanted tablets, bought them..

    .. They have no good reason to replace them. It's not exactly rocket science. Of course the market growth would slow.

    Most El Reg commentards figured exactly that would happen even before they were popular, in the face of ridiculous suggestions that tablets would replace desktops.

    Turns out, being a market analyst doesn't mean a lot.

    1. BigAndos

      Re: People who wanted tablets, bought them..

      Who would have thought exactly the same thing that happened to PC sales, then laptop sales and then smart phone sales would happen to tablet sales eh? No way analysts could have seen that coming!

    2. Haku

      Re: People who wanted tablets, bought them..

      Exactly, I have two 7" Android tablets and an Android phone, I do not want or need another battery powered mouth to feed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, weird. Talks about iOS alot

    There is a huge Android Elephant in the room, that makes up the lions share of tablet sales, and it isn't even mentioned in this article.

    "From 2015, we expect Windows to grow faster than iOS"

    or in other words.

    "Apple and Microsoft will fight over the scraps on the floor left by Android Tablets".

    1. Lallabalalla

      Re: Hmm, weird. Talks about iOS alot

      No, what it means is that if they sell 10,000 windows tablets the growth is 500% whereas if they sell 10,000 iPads growth is -100,000%

    2. Handy Plough

      Re: Hmm, weird. Talks about iOS alot

      "There is a huge Android Elephant in the room..."

      No there isn't.

      "...that makes up the lions share of tablet sales"

      ORLY? Lets see the stats please...

      1. Stretch

        Re: Hmm, weird. Talks about iOS alot

        http://tabtimes.com/resources/the-state-of-the-tablet-market/

        http://www.statista.com/statistics/273268/worldwide-tablet-sales-by-operating-system-since-2nd-quarter-2010/

        Android moved ahead in Q4 2012 and has been consistently selling larger numbers for the past 2 years.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmm, weird. Talks about iOS alot

        Errm, you mean in the link I posted?

        #fail

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Errm, you mean in the link I posted?

          Yeah, the link you posted to a single graph of smart phone stats. Smart phones are not tablets.

          #notverybright

  8. Major Ebaneezer Wanktrollop

    Utter tripe

    'From 2015, we expect Windows to grow faster than iOS'

    I'm your average, technically proficient, XP and Win7 lover and no WIndows 8 was my idea.

  9. Wam

    Pedant

    You say "even fewer people set to purchase tablets this year than in 2014". Not so. The rate of increase is just dropping below double digits. Like saying that inflation is down implies a drop in prices.

  10. Oli 1

    Still using my Motorola Xoom 1, battery life goes in 6 month cycles of being piss poor, then okay again.

    I only use it at the end of the day when on the sofa or in bed to control the tele and stumble about the web.

    Im reminded how useless it is, when i take it on the road though.

    Constant charging required to watch anything on it.

    I wanted to upgrade it for christmas, but just didnt happen. I'll use it till it dies....

  11. Haro

    Powerful PC adds dynamic range

    I use my powerful Linux PC for bittorrent, and running a Tor relay. The Internet limits the need for power, just as I've got all the power I need for my Openwrt router. Everything else I do on it (blog, g+, gimp, etc) could be done on a Chromebook, but I won't get one. An old laptop has found a new use as a Tails Linux super-secure connection, even though I don't need it. My Nexus7-2 is mostly a book reader, with a little bit of Hangouts (texting). The phone use is just for mobile texting. I think the dynamic range of power may increase, from very powerful desktop to small mobile. Perhaps the middle (tablet) will get squeezed out.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Powerful PC adds dynamic range

      And what do you use when you need to get over yourself? I assume lifting gear is required....

  12. alpine

    Waiting for a new display technology

    A static market was only to be expected and it will remain so until there is a breakthrough in display technology. At present we are stuck with E-ink, fine in daylight but slow and b/w only, and LCDs. Which, even in their best incarnations are totally useless in sunlight.

    The same applies to phones.

    1. dogged

      Re: Waiting for a new display technology

      Whatever happened to Pixel QI?

      1. alpine

        Re: Waiting for a new display technology

        Or indeed OLED, which seems to have become just a niche technology.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Waiting for a new display technology

          Samsung would probably disagree as they shift one or two Active Matrix OLED screens here and there....

  13. User McUser
    Headmaster

    Short Pedantic Rant

    The phrase "double-digit" when referring to percentages is so broad a range (10-99%) as to be utterly useless as a measure of anything. It's like using the phrase "somewhere in the atmosphere" as a measure of altitude.

    1. auburnman

      Re: Short Pedantic Rant

      But they're negating that range by saying that scope of growth is over, so the broader it is the better the measure. I can infer they expect future growth to be single digit or negative (or technically triple-digit or more if I wanted to be ultra-pedantic.) It's more like saying "Below 1000 feet" as a measure of altitude.

  14. trance gemini

    "We also expect development in cognisant computing to help the vendors' relationships with consumers evolve from passive providers of hardware to in-sync with the user,"

    Oh do please fuck off

  15. Frank N. Stein

    I stopped at the iPad 2 that I bought in 2012. The only reason I'd consider getting a new Tablet is due to the 16GB of storage and lack of expandable storage preventing adding anything new. I've been using the tablet less and less over the past three years. The novelty has certainly worn off. I'm waiting to see how the Surface 3 shakes out. Depending on how a hands on with it goes, I may go that route next, as it will run full Windows. I haven't been moved by any of the iPads that came after the iPad 2. Considered the iPad Mini and Mini 2 but just wasn't moved to buy one.

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