Monday, 27 January 2014

SA to buck global tablet sales trend

While tablet sales were roaring during 2013, there are some market analysts, including IDC Corporation, which expect sales to drop significantly during 2014. South Africa could buck the trend, however.
At least one local notebook and tablet retailer, The Notebook Company, has said that local sales should improve “slightly”.

Christopher Riley, CEO of The Notebook Company, comments: “In a recent announcement, the IDC has stated that tablet sales will halve during 2014. Personally I just don’t see this happening – certainly not in South Africa, and certainly not at The Notebook Company.”
Riley says he expected his company’s tablet sales to increase by high single digits, “or possibly by double digits”.

‘We are fairly bullish about sales for this year. We are starting to leave the fumes of the global financial meltdown behind us – and I believe that, in itself, will play a part in more buoyant sales figures. Even if, globally, we see an increase in tablet sales during 2014, we are still seeing a growing market. It might be that it is just hard to emulate the sales during 2013, which were pretty good.”

According to the IDC, tablet sales reached 221-million units in 2013, up 54% on the previous year. But it said that this year’s sales will drop by as much as 22%, taking sales to 271-million units.

IDC also said that, by 2017, tablet sales would have slowed to single digit growth.
One of the reasons given for this decline is that consumers are opting for smartphones over smaller tablets.

Tom Mainelli, research director: tablets at IDC, says: “In the US, where tablets have been shipping in large volumes since 2010 – and are already well established -we’re less concerned about big phones cannibalising shipments and more worried about market saturation.”
It is further felt that, while consumer preferences have tended towards small tablets over the past 24 months, the rise of large phones could push consumers back towards larger tablets.

“The difference between a 6 inch smartphone and a 7-inch tablet isn’t great enough to warrant purchasing both,” Mainelli says.

But Riley insists that tablet sales will increase in South Africa during 2014 – and might even breach the double-digit mark. “We saw an increase in tablet and notebook sales in the last two quarters and we are expecting further sales growth during the next two quarters … we certainly see room for continued growth.”