Tablet Sales Down as Phablets Take Over & Certification Bottleneck Chokes Supply

Tablet sales have continued to drop in India as well as the world. Recent report suggests that people have preferred phablets over tablet devices.
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Tablets have continued to struggle at cracking the Indian market. Only 0.78 million units of tablets were shipped across the country in the first quarter of 2014, according to the latest report by IDC. This is a drop of 32.8% year on year.

One of the reasons for the tablet’s slow paced growth and decline over the last year is probably people’s newfound interest in phablets. Smartphones with screen size of around 5.5 to 6.99 inches, fulfill the dual purpose of both a phone and a tablet, something which Indians have evidently appreciated.

And this isn’t just about the Indian tablet market. According to Worldwide Tablet Shipments report by IDC, there has been a huge drop in tablet sales in the first quarter all across the globe. While there has been a slight increase quarterly-on-quarterly, the demand for tablet seems to be waning.

The other issue is the labeling guidelines for BIS certification of IT products. It’s a government guideline which requires the vendors to seek BIS certification. While it has accepted many devices, over 200 products including laptops, tablets, printers etc are yet to be reviewed.

The guideline says that any modification made to the hardware design of the product is to be done at the source location. This would affect the supply chain and could impact on the launch of the device in the country. This issue has greatly affected the products that are imported from overseas.

Companies market share

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In the first quarter, Samsung maintained its dominance with 47.5% of all the devices shipped in the specified period. The company’s 7-inch to 8-inch devices – namely Galaxy Tab devices did well. Right below it was Apple, which shipped iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina to India earlier this year. The report says that it was Mini that profited the company more. The company shipped 14.4% of all the tablets.

Among Indian manufacturers, Micromax, which didn’t release as many tablets recently, shipped 8.8% of all tablets. Datawind, the manufacturer of affordable Ubislate tablets shipped around 6.8% of devices. Whereas Acer, Asus, and rest of the brands cumulatively shipped 22.5% of tablets.

Why tablets aren’t selling?

There are too many great tablets available in the market. More affordable than ever, these devices sport, in many cases, better specifications than our computers. And are available at such low prices, but why don’t they attract consumers?

For instance, a few days ago, Microsoft unveiled Surface Pro 3. The company which has lost over $1.2 billion on the Surface tablets says that the new Surface, much like the old ones will remove the conflict between computers and tablets. This device is Microsoft’s third attempt at making people believe that they can do all their work from their tablets.

But the problem with customers is that they still consider tablets as a content consumption device, rather than a replacement for laptops.

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