May 30, 2014

Tablets remain popular but the market is no longer enjoying super-strong growth, according to a new report from research firm IDC. After growing 51.8% in 2013, slate shipments are expected to grow only 12.1% this year due partially to increased demand for large-screened smartphones, or phablets, according to the report. IDC now estimates tablets will account for 254.4 million units this year, 6.5 million fewer than it had previously projected.

Thanks to the rising popularity of larger smartphones, IDC expects smaller tablets to take the biggest hit. In a statement, the firm said tablets with 7-inch and 8-inch screens comprised 55% of shipments in 2013. IDC expects smaller tablets will account for just over half of shipments this year, and around 44.5% in 2018.

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IDC first said last summer that mini-tablets will face competition not only from phablets, but also, in developed markets, from wearable devices. The firm has since continued to regularly report increased demand for phablets.

Demand for some larger models has also slowed. Users frequently replace high-end smartphones but hold onto premium tablets for longer periods, according to IDC. With refresh rates more like those found in the traditional PC industry, iPads and other expensive slates aren't growing at the rates analysts expected last year.

[ Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek. ]