New York — The emergence of low-cost Android tablets is driving a dilution of Apple's dominant market share, according to research company Futuresource Consulting.
However, in spite of continued growth in shipment volume throughout the forecast period, Futuresource expects a slowing of retail value growth in the worldwide tablet market as consumer sales plateau in a saturated market and retail prices continue the steady decline that began in 2010.
B-to-B sales will become an increasingly significant driver of future demand, Futuresource said, particularly in developed markets. For emerging markets, any pent-up B-to-B demand will still be constrained by price.
"Workplace tablet use has been driven principally by bring-your-own-device policies, and tablets are used in a more complementary role rather than as a replacement for the PC," said Simon Bryant, consumer electronics associate director at Futuresource. "Issues of security and untested apps on tablets have also previously suppressed B-to-B demand, although many of these fears have been allayed with many tablets now carrying the same security policies and enforcement as a laptop.”
Futuresource predicted that the engine behind B-to-B sales will be the availability of productivity apps, unifying software platforms, improved battery life, and technology comparable to today's PC. By 2019 B-to-B is expected to make up 30 percent of total worldwide tablet shipments.
The development of the B-to-B sector could be boosted further by the introduction of larger screened, fully featured tablets, specifically those from Apple and traditional PC vendors.
Smaller-screen tablets currently command significant market share, taking 71 percent of shipments in 2014. This category, however, is most at risk by the rise in demand for phablets as sales of large screen smartphones collide with those of smaller screen tablets. As a consequence, larger-screened tablets are expected to increase future share, with manufacturers also shifting production from 7-inch to 8-inch and larger devices by the end of 2015.
The report is available for purchase here.