MarketLine Blog

Tablet market decline continues: Strong demand for substitutes and low innovation resulting in falling sales

The tablet market has undergone consecutive years of decline in recent years, and the market is expected to continue declining in the coming years as well. This has put intense pressure on players operating in this market, and many such as Dell and HTC have decided to pull out. Overall the market is dominated by Apple, Samsung and Amazon.

Several reasons have been given to explain why the tablets market after such a promising start has succumbed to this pattern of decline. An important reason is the way in which substitute products to tablets have been able to adapt themselves to changing consumer patterns and thereby present themselves as stronger alternatives to buyers. Smartphone manufacturers for example have increased the size of their products screens giving rise to what is known as the “phablet” phenomenon. Other substitutes such as laptop manufacturers have also adapted their products to these changing consumer patterns by for example reducing the weight of their products and introducing features previously used primarily by tablets such as touchscreens, onto laptops as well.

The manner in which these substitutes have adapted to changing demands has most strongly been felt amongst the younger segments of society who travel around more compared to their preceding generations. The need for flexibility is therefore high amongst this segment of society. The final reason for the tablet market’s declining trend has been its inability to innovate. Whereas consumers will regularly purchase new smartphones due to wear and tear or the introduction of new attractive features, tablet manufactures have struggled to differentiate their products efficiently enough, resulting in many buyers increasingly treating tablets as they would TV’s, meaning that new ones only need to be purchased after several years.

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