NPD DisplaySearch: Quarterly slate shipments decline for the first time

If quarterly tablet shipments are any indication, it seems that tablets may not be as white-hot as almost everyone thought they would be – at least, not as hot as they used to be. Research firm NPD DisplaySearch said that at 56 million units, shipments of tablets in the first quarter of 2014 were lower than in the same quarter in 2013 – the very first time that such a decline has taken place.

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Seven-inchers are slumping, according to NPD DisplaySearch

While this is partly due to delays in the launch of new products, it’s emerging that seven-inch tablets are doing poorly. According to Hisakazu Torii, vice president, smart application research at NPD DisplaySearch, “Tablet PC demand in 2014 is being impacted by falling demand for seven-inch-class sizes in emerging regions and in China, where many local white-box brands have experienced lower-than-expected shipment growth.”

Why could this be the case? Experts say that competition from phablets is dampening demand for smaller tablets. Moreover, this competition is expected to reduce demand for these tablets through 2018. The report said that unit share for tablets 7 inches to 7.9 inches got as high as 58% in 2013, but that is as high as it will probably get; NPD expects this figure to decline in 2014 and beyond.

And what, then, about the much-ballyhooed saying that tablets would kill the PC? As Adrian Kingsley-Hughes reports for ZDNet, shipments of notebook PCs were actually up in 1Q 2014 – purportedly better than expected thanks to the commercial PC refresh cycle and migration of users to Windows XP. So maybe tablets aren’t going to be the PC killers that they were purported to be after all.

Improvements on the horizon

However, this doesn’t mean that tablets will be completely out of the picture; NPD also says that larger tablets, those 8 inches and above, will start booming, with shipments of 8 to 10.9-inch units overtaking those of smaller units by 2018, while shipments of 11-inch and larger tablets will exceed 10% of the market by that same year.

(We add that these are shipment projections and not sales projections – sales figures are another animal altogether. But please do stick with us to keep abreast of developments in this sphere.)

source [ NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report]

via [ ZDNet]

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