After a difficult year in 2014, the global tablet market is not returning to the levels of growth seen in the last four years as demand for tablets will continue to be slow in 2015 according to latest research from Gartner.
The company predicts that worldwide tablet sales will reach 233 million units in 2015, an 8 per cent increase from 2014.
"The collapse of the tablet market in 2014 was alarming," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "In the last two years global sales of tablets were growing in double-digits."
Gartner said this steep drop in growth could be explained by several factors. One is that the lifetime of tablets is being extended as they are shared among family members. At the same time, software upgrades especially for Apple's iOS devices keep the tablets up-to-date, while a lack of hardware innovation dissuades people from buying new devices.
Meanwhile the company said worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultra-mobiles and mobile phones) are estimated to reach 2.5 billion units in 2015, an increase of 3.9 per cent over 2014. The mobile phone segment alone is on pace to grow 3.7 per cent in 2015 and reach 2 billion units in 2016.
"The smartphone market is becoming polarised between the high- and low-end market price points," said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.
Zimmermann noted that Apple's iOS operating system (OS) dominates growth in the premium mobile phone segment with an average selling price at $447 (€377) in 2014, while Android and other OSs are found at the other end of the spectrum where the average phone costs $100.
"For the midrange smartphones, the market opportunity is becoming increasingly limited," she added.
Gartner also said it expects this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to see device manufacturers announce new partnerships on the design of innovative apps that use personal data to tailor the user experience.
- see this Gartner release
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