Tablet PC's seem to be having a hard time in today's market and CMR’s latest India Quarterly for Q1, May 2015 release, announced today, definitely puts this into numbers. As it turns out, the vast emerging India market is slowly shifting away from tablets at an alarming rate of 13.9% on a quarter over quarter basis.
Simply put, this means that shipments and vendor sales for such devices for the first three months of 2015 are almost 14% less than the first three months of 2014. Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice commented on the numbers and said that this trend was, in fact, anticipated:
We had cautioned the industry that unless they make substantial differentiation in the value proposition for potential customers, Tablet shipments are not going to grow. This is what the results now reinforce.
And the main reason behind the failing sales number couldn’t be more obvious. The problem is that tablet PC's have little added value to offer over the vast smartphone market and without some special innovative features or other factors to set them apart, they are quickly becoming replaced by phones and phablets.
As Faisal himself explains:
Since there isn’t much value addition coming in the shape of specific solutions to enhance device usability at the moment, Tablets are only becoming devices of convenience, essentially larger screen versions of smartphones. This has resulted in lower priority in the list of ‘must have’ devices for the average user. Tablets only make the ‘nice-to-have’ grade. To prevent the Tablet form factor from dying out, vendors must position their offerings as a distinct category, rather than just an also-ran device at the cusp of a Smartphone and a Laptop PC.
This all makes perfect sense and if tablets are quickly losing credibility as being useful on their own, it is only logical that the decline in sales will be felt quickly and strongly in emerging markets, like India, where practicality and lower income often discourages splurging in pointless tech. Furthermore, CMR’s research shows that around 60% of all tablet PCs shipped since the beginning of 2015 support Broadband Wireless Access (3G and 4G), so people are obviously going after more useful, connected mobile devices. The trend could, however, extend other markets as well, so, tablets might be heading towards some tough times.
But Sachin remains hopeful for the form-factor's future. Statistics show that even though the vast majority of units still originate from smaller vendors, big name players, such as Samsung and Micromax have a good hold on the Indian tablet market. This might prove essential for the tough process of restructuring market strategies and targets for tablets, as an enterprise orientation might be the only way out of the sales crisis.
As Sachin concluded:
We were hoping that the future of Tablets lies in the enterprise market and that is why we saw many mainstream IT brands aggressively launch their Tablet devices in CY 2014. Unfortunately, that momentum has not picked up. The situation calls for vendors to go back to their drawing boards and redesign the product.
Lumia 1520 FTW btw, i still want a 6" or 7" micro-surface pro 4 with detachable wireless keypad
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