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Tablet Sales Hit Plateau, Per Forrester Study

Tablet Sales Hit Plateau, Per Forrester Study

It appears that Apple’s iPhones are continuing to sell tremendously well. But as for the tech giant’s other mobile device offering, the iPad, it seems that sales of the tablet has decreased 18 percent year over year during the last quarter of the previous year. Furthermore, iPad sales may have already hit a plateau, at least according to findings from a new study conducted by Forrester Research


Despite having a new iPad Air already available in the market, Apple’s tablet sales do not appear to be improving soon or ever. If it is any consolation to Apple, Forrester’s study shows that the manufacturer of iPads is not the only tablet maker suffering from slow sales. 


What could be the possible reason for the slump in tablet sales? There are many, of course. Chief among them is the idea that the tablet market overall has reached its saturation point. Tablets that run on Android, the most widely used mobile operating system in the world right now, have significantly dropped in prices. Some tablets can now be bought as low as $50, making it easier for most consumers to get a tablet.


A few years ago, specifically from 2010 to 2013, tablet sales soared as mobile manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung brought new tablets that featured new innovative functionalities and more powerful hardware components. But replacement rates for tablets are just not the same as those for smartphones. In other words, consumers do not normally buy new tablets as often as they do smartphones. Also, the fact that the technology on tablets is generally considered slow to evolve compared to smartphones, people are not that enthusiastic about getting a new one. 


Plus, the increasing popularity of phablets, or smartphones with big display screens, may have something to do with the decrease of tablet sales. After all, why get a tablet when an iPhone 6 Plus or a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 basically functions as a mini tablet anyway? About 41 percent of global information workers stated their their smartphone features a display screen of at least 5 inches in size. And as Forrester found out in its study, 11 percent said that the tablet they used is actually a phablet. 


We may be entering into an era wherein phablets are fast replacing tablets. Take Samsung, for instance. One month after the South Korean tech giant launched its Galaxy Note 4 smartphone last year, consumers bought 4.5 million units of the phablet. As for the company’s tablets, their market share dropped 5 percentage points to 17.2 percent during the second quarter. Other phablet choices, like Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus and Microsoft’s Lumia 1520 also may have contributed to the tablet’s downfall.


However, Forrester’s new study does suggest that tablets are becoming more and more popular in the business sector. According to the research firm, over half of today’s employees use a tablet for work at least once every week. It may not be as heavy a usage as smartphones, but it is something really solid. These employees seem to using their tablets are supplementary devices to their desktops and laptops.


If this trend continues, tablet makers may do well to shift their attention from casual users to business users in the near future. Unless of course business users begin using phablets for productivity purposes too.