A new Gartner survey of 19,000 consumers has revealed that just 17 per cent of consumers in mature markets plan to purchase a tablet in the next 12 months.Conducted in May and June of this year across consumers in the US, UK, France, China, Brazil and India, the survey of personal technology purchase intentions reveals tablet market challenges in both mature and emerging markets.
Meike Escherich, Gartner principal research analyst, noted that applications rather than hardware drive tablet innovation.
“However, most applications work pretty well with first and second-generation tablet hardware, and because the operating system (OS) can be upgraded for free, the user is not compelled to change the device,” Escherich commented.
“Users are less interested in the hardware and more interested in the applications and how devices using the cloud can interact with each other.”
In the US market, tablet penetration has reached more than 66 per cent of households, with more than 25 per cent of households having two or more tablets. Escherich noted that without “compelling innovation or incentives to upgrade tablets” churn will continue to fall.
“The worst-case scenario is that many tablet users will never upgrade or buy a new tablet as phablets and/or two-in-one convertible PCs (both with larger screen) envelop the benefits of a tablet,” she commented.
“This scenario would result in real household penetration for tablets falling under 40 per cent in mature markets.”
Meanwhile, in emerging markets tablet penetration is lower, with tablets facing competition from smartphones. Escherich stated Gartner believes smartphone demand will split into two screen sizes, 5″ and 5.5″ and larger phablets, with consumers choosing based on device preference and lifestyle.
Gartner’s consumer survey findings show that 48 per cent of respondents do not want to replace a device until they absolutely have to, with consumers now having to prioritise which computing device is most important to them.
About half of the respondents plan to remain loyal to their current form factor, especially desktops (65 per cent) and standard laptops (46 per cent), however Gartner notes consumers also seem increasingly uncertain about what device should replace their existing device. Gartner states this “points to users’ wants and needs not being clearly met by current product offers as overlapping offers make the decision process increasingly complicated”.
Escherich noted hybrids present opportunities.
“Demand for this two-in-one form factor is generated by tablet owners and standard laptop users,” she stated. “The dissatisfaction with standard laptops comes from issues around battery life, weight and boot-up times.
“Others see the versatility of a hybrid meeting the needs of a tablet and a notebook, especially with the benefit of a keyboard.
“It appears the traditional PC is no longer a compromised device compared with tablets or even smartphones and appeals to consumers in a new, more versatile form factor.”