UK Tablet Market Expected to Shrink in 2014

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The UK's tablet market will shrink in 2014 with sales expected to decline from 17 million in 2013 to less than 14 million this year according to CCS Insight.

The forecast follows two years of explosive growth, fuelled by the easy availability of tablets ranging from premium products to devices costing less than £50. More than 43% of the UK's population now owns a tablet, up from just 6% two years ago, and the number will almost double by 2017. In the next two years however, the market will take a breather from its massive peak, before returning to steeper growth in 2016. By 2017, CCS Insight is forecasting total tablet sales to reach 20 million in the UK.

"It's only natural that we will now see a cooling off in tablet sales for the next couple of years. The next big wave of growth will come in two years when consumers who bought their first tablets in 2012 and 2013 start replacing them. In the meantime we expect people to turn their attention to replacing that old PC and their smartphone." said Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight.

Koytcheva said: "Tablets have captured people's imagination in a way that even mobile phones didn't. In just four years, almost half the population of the UK has now got a tablet. It took 14 years for mobile phones to become that popular. Of course, the plunging prices have a lot to do with the success of tablets."

"Prices won't keep falling indefinitely and we predict the market for good-quality branded tablets to remain. Generally, people get what they pay for. Cheap, low-end devices have fuelled the demand for tablets. However CCS Insight predicts a wave of buyer's remorse as people realise that cheap tablets just don't perform as well as their more expensive cousins. We expect many of those who bought cheap tablets will upgrade to more expensive products next time around as they grow frustrated by the limitations of what the low-end tablets can do."
Small tablets will dominate the market

CCS Insight calculates that smaller tablets accounted for 63% of sales in the UK in 2013, up from 34% in 2012. Lower prices, a compact size, high-quality screens and excellent usability have all contributed to the phenomenal growth of small tablets since the launch of well-made seven- and eight-inch tablets in mid-2012, and will be the reason why small tablets will remain dominant in the future. In 2017, two out of three tablets sold will have a screen smaller than nine inches.

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