Rocketing growth in the tablet market could be a thing of the past, according to IDC, as mature markets begin to reach saturation point.
In the final quarter of last year, global tablet shipments reached 76.9 million units, up 62.4 per cent sequentially - due to a festive surge - but only 28.2 per cent ahead compared to a year ago.
This time last year the annual growth rate for 2012's final quarter stood at 87.1 per cent, marking what IDC described as "significant slowing" of the market this year.
For the whole of 2013, tablet shipments totalled 271.1 million units, up 50.6 per cent on 2012. But IDC predicted a more challenging outlook for the market as it matures.
"It's becoming increasingly clear that markets such as the US are reaching high levels of consumer saturation and, while emerging markets continue to show strong growth, this has not been enough to sustain the dramatic worldwide growth rates of years past," said Tom Mainelli, research director for tablets at IDC.
"We expect commercial purchases of tablets to continue to accelerate in mature markets, but softness in the consumer segment - brought about by high penetration rates and increased competition for the consumer dollar - point to a more challenging environment for tablets in 2014 and beyond."
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