Russia Takes Lead In Tablets In Emerging Markets

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Russians are taking to "plansheti" tablets in bigger numbers than consumers in any other major emerging market.

Global research by IDC in its quarterly tablet tracker shows that in 3Q13, Russia became the third largest global market for tablets and ereaders after the US and China. Per capita purchases of tablets and ereaders are at a level approaching those in Germany and other Western European countries and are at twice the per capita level in Brazil and close to four times that in China.

Globally, the gloss is beginning to fade in the tablet market as volumes rapidly plateau at around 50 million units a quarter despite a raft of cheaper products at more compact sizes hitting the market from Chinese manufacturers. However, in Russia, tablet and ereader shipments in the third quarter of 2.77 million were up by nearly 25% on the three months before, according to IDC data.

According to IDC data, Samsung leads the combined Russian tablet and ereader market with a share of 19.1% in 3Q13, up from 12.9% in 2Q13. Apple iPads came in second, with a 12.5% share. The total tablet and ereader market value reached $791 million.

"Russia got off to a head start with ereaders," said Natalia Vinogradova, analyst for PC, tablet, and ereader research at IDC Russia. "Russia is the second biggest global market for ereaders after America, and though demand is beginning to peak as consumers turn to full-feature tablets as the prices of these fall, sales of ereaders are still much more resilient than they are in many countries, where volumes are often tumbling."

"Russia has done this without the presence of Amazon and the Kindle,'' she added, "which are not officially present on the local market. Instead, Russian readers can download an extensive number of books in Russian from local websites, most of which is done without payment as book copyright enforcement is still rather weak here."

According to IDC's Smart Connected Device Tracker, which brings together data on markets for tablets, smartphones, and PCs, the popularity for tablets in Russia overshadows the country's importance in smartphones, where it ranks 11th globally. With smartphones only now near breaching half of the country's mobile phone market, Russia has yet to see the kind of surge in smartphone takeup which has taken place in China over the last year. In PCs, Russia globally ranks 6th.

"There are big differences around the world in the relative importance of tablets and smartphones," said Simon Baker, program manager for mobile phone research at IDC CEMA. "In Russia smartphones plus ereaders outsell tablets at a ratio of less than two to one,"' he said. "This is one of the lowest levels in any major market, nearly four times below that in Brazil and eight times lower than in China."

"The Russian company Yota has just launched a smartphone with a low-power consumption electronic ink ereader on the reverse face," Baker added. ''This was a rare launch of a consumer electronics product designed in Russia, but the strength of the ereader market here against that for smartphones explains why such a phone could make sense in the Russian context," he said. "Yota is also launching in other countries, where the product balance will often be less favourable and the company will have more of a challenge."

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Tags: tablets  Russia 

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