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Tablet market expected to see further slowdown

Gartner predicts an 8% year-over-year increase in sales this year

Tablet market expected to see further slowdown
Gartner believes that worldwide tablet sales will reach 233m units this year

The global tablet market is in for more slow going in 2015, and will not return to the level of growth that it has seen over the last four years, according to the latest predictions from Gartner.

Indeed, Gartner believes that worldwide tablet sales will reach 233m units this year, just an 8% increase over 2014. The research house labelled this low level of growth as a "collapse", and said that the industry found the market slowdown alarming.

"In the last two years global sales of tablets were growing in double-digits. The steep drop can be explained by several factors," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

"One is that the lifetime of tablets is being extended - they are shared out amongst family members and software upgrades, especially for iOS devices, keep the tablets current. Another factor includes the lack of innovation in hardware, which refrains consumers from upgrading."

Gartner said that it expects this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to include partnership announcements between vendors. The idea, Gartner explained, would be to create innovative apps that use personal data to tailor tablet experiences.

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

"Beyond an enriched computing experience for the user, this next phase of the personal cloud will also help make the vendor and customer's relationships more personal, with services and advertising automatically tailored to consumer demands." 

Gartner said that, overall, worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) for 2015 are estimated to reach 2.5bn units, an increase of 3.9% over 2014. The mobile phone segment is on pace to grow 3.7% in 2015 and reach 2bn units in 2016, Gartner predicted.

"The smartphone market is becoming polarised between the high- and low-end market price points," said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.

"On one hand, the premium phone with an average selling price at $447 in 2014 saw growth dominated by iOS, and on the other end of the spectrum you have Android and other open OS phones' growth area in the basic phone segment, where the average phone costs $100. For the midrange smartphones, the market opportunity is becoming increasingly limited."

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