Dubai:Tablet shipments to the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are expected to fall by 8.1 per cent this year to 12.76 million units, said industry experts.
Global shipments are expected to fall by 15.6 per cent.
Due to the lack of any noteworthy innovation taking place in much of the tablet space, Fouad R. Charakla, senior research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), said that there is little reason for majority of consumers to upgrade to newer-generation tablets.
“This is prolonging the refreshment cycle for tablets in the region and causing an inevitable slowdown in the market,” he said.
He said that they [research firm] have revised its long-term forecast downwards.
“We now expect the market to decline at a compound annual growth rate of 0.2 per cent over the 2016—2021 period to total 13.64 million units in 2021. The best year for the tablet market in the region was in 2014 at 16.7 million,” he said.
During the fourth quarter, Samsung maintained its lead in the tablet market with a unit share of 17.6 per cent while Lenovo remained in second place, increasing its share to 10.8 per cent and Apple climbed into third spot with 8.7 per cent share. The UAE-based vendor i-Life rose to fourth in the rankings with a market share of 7.4 per cent and Huawei accounted for market share of just 5.1 per cent.
Nakul Dogra, senior research analyst at IDC, said that tasks that were previously performed on tablets are increasingly moving to bigger-screen smartphones, so tablets are becoming redundant in the consumer ecosystem of gadgets.
He said that consumers are now investing more time and money into smartphones than tablets, which has led to a slowdown of tablet markets around the world, not just here in MEA. That said, there are still countries in Africa that harbour scope for further tablet penetration.
Charakla said that purchases of tablets through online retailers are going to further intensify competition in the online segment. Increasingly, local retailers are investing more in the online channel and newer players are expected to enter the market in the coming year.
In 2016, online purchases of tablets stood at seven per cent and expected to increase to 10 per cent this year.
Charakla said that by 2021, 12 per cent of tablets will be sold through e-tailers in the region.