Less than a fifth of consumers planning tablet purchase: Gartner

  • Basic and utility ultra-mobile upgrade could fall by 10% through 2016
  • Traditional PC no longer a compromised device compared with tablets or smartphones
Less than a fifth of consumers planning tablet purchase: Gartner

Only 17% of consumers in mature markets plan to purchase a tablet in the next 12 months, according to a survey by Gartner Inc.

The survey, conducted in May and June 2015, gathered data from 19,000 consumers in the Brazil, China, India, France, UK and US.

In a statement, the research consultancy said this will force strategic leaders to re-assess market opportunities in this category, as basic and utility ultra-mobile (smartphone and tablet devices) upgrade rates could fall by 10% through 2016.

Gartner's principal research analyst Meike Escherich said, "Unless new compelling innovation or incentives to upgrade tablets are created, the churn of the mature installed base will continue to fall."

She noted the worst-case scenario is that many tablet users will never upgrade or buy a new tablet as phablets (large screen smartphones) or 2-in-1 convertible PCs envelop the benefits of a tablet.

“This would result in real household penetration for tablets falling under 40% in mature markets,” she added. According to the report, the penetration of tablets in the US has reached more than 66% of households, with more than 25% having two or more tablets.

Read also: DNA Test: The cheapest Android phablet you’ve never heard of

In emerging markets, the penetration of media tablets is lower and filled with many lower-cost offerings. In these markets, the research notes that tablets are a complement to smartphones.

Meanwhile, Gartner believes smartphone demand will split into two screen sizes: 5-inch devices and those with 5.5 inches and above (also known as phablets).

“Consumers will choose between these two based on their device preference and lifestyle,” said Escherich. She cited portability, mobile content consumption experience and budget as among the deciding factors when it comes to purchasing a smartphone or a phablet.

Aside from that, 48% of the survey respondents do not intend to replace a device until they absolutely have to, due to a more complex purchasing process. Consumers seem increasingly uncertain about which device should replace their existing one, indicating that users’ demands are not clearly met by current product offers, thus making the purchasing process increasingly complicated.

“It appears that 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.

“Demand for this 2-in-1 form factor is generated by tablet owners and standard laptop users. The dissatisfaction with standard laptops comes from issues of battery life, weigh and boot up time.

“Others see the versatility of a hybrid meeting the needs of a tablet and a notebook, especially with the benefit of a keyboard,” said Escherich.

And what about traditional form factor devices?  The survey showed that about half of the respondents plan to remain loyal to their current form factor, especially desktops (65%) and standard laptops (46%).

Related stories:

HP Pavilion x2 (2015) review: More tablet than notebook with this 2-in-1

DNA Test: A middleweight fight for the ‘Note’ phablet crown

Lenovo Phab Plus straddles between smartphone and tablet

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