The telecoms analyst company forecasts after two years of explosive growth fuelled by the growing availability of cheaper devices, tablet sales are expected to decline from 17 million in 2013 to 14 million this year.
A number of retailers jumped on the cheaper tablet bandwagon in 2013, with Tesco, Argos and Aldi among the companies launching their own branded devices to rival more expensive products from the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Samsung, among others.
More than 43 per cent of the UK population now owns a tablet, up from just 6 per cent two years ago – a far faster penetration rate than the 14 years it took for mobile phones to become that popular. But while the tablet market is set to “take a breather” from its peak last year, by 2017 CCS Insight predicts total tablet sales in the country will reach 20 million, with two out of three tablets sold housing a screen smaller than 9 inches.
Maria Kotcheva, CCS Insight director of forecasting says the next big wave of growth will come in two years when people who bought their first tablets begin to replace them. In the meantime, she adds, consumers will turn their attention to replacing old PCs and smartphones.
Cheap, low-end devices appear to have fuelled tablet demand so far but CCS Insight predicts “a wave of buyer’s remorse” as people realise cheap tablets underperform compared with their more premium counterparts.
Kotcheva says: “We expect many of those who bought cheap tablets to upgrade to more expensive products next time around, as they grow frustrated by the limitations of what the low-end tablets can do.”