IDC has slashed its tablet forecast as the worldwide market reaches maturity and faces threats from large smartphones and wearable technology.
The analyst now expects global tablet shipments to reach 227.4 million units in 2013, down from a previous forecast of 229.3 million – but still 57.7 per cent above 2012 shipments.
Western Europe and North America will bear the brunt of the slowing market due to market saturation and increased adoption of smartphones with 5in screens.
Wearable technology will also affect tablet growth, IDC said, with mature markets set to be hit hardest and first.
Top vendors such as Microsoft and Dell are set to throw their hats into the wearable technology ring, with Apple and Google expected to release their respective iWatch and Google Glass products in the coming months.
By 2017, mature markets – western Europe, North America and Japan – will account for 49 per cent of the global market, compared to the 60.8 per cent share they held in 2012.
Jitesh Urbani, research analyst for IDC's worldwide quarterly tracker, said: "Year-on-year growth is beginning to slow as the tablet market approaches the early stages of maturity.
"Much of the long term will be driven by countries such as China where projected growth rates will be consistently higher than the worldwide average."
The lack of major product announcements in this year's Q2 makes the second half of the year even more crucial for the tablet market, according to Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director for tablets.
"We expect average selling prices to continue to compress as more mainstream vendors utilise low-cost components to better compete with the whitebox tablet vendors that continue to enjoy widespread traction in the market despite typically offering lower-quality products and poorer customer experiences," he said.
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