International Data Corporation said it expects 227.4 million tablets to be shipped in 2013, which is slightly lower than a previous forecast of 229 million from the firm.
IDC said competition from larger smartphones and the prospect of new categories such as wearable devices are diverting consumer spending from tablets this year. However, the 227 million figure still represents a 57.7% increase above 2012 shipments. Despite the slight reduction for this year, the firm said the tablet market will continue to grow at a rapid pace and by 2017 IDC said it expects worldwide shipments to be nearly 407 million units. The company also adjusted its regional outlook, with maturing markets such as the U.S. now expected to cede share more rapidly to emerging markets such as Asia/Pacific.
While mature markets such as North America and Western Europe have driven much of the tablet market's growth to date, IDC expects shipment growth to begin to slow in these markets. Market saturation, increased adoption of smartphones with 5-inch and greater screens, and the eventual growth of the wearable category will impact tablet growth in all regions, but are likely to impact mature regions first. As a result, IDC now expects the mature market (comprised of North America, Western Europe, and Japan) to shrink from 60.8% of the worldwide market in 2012 to 49% by 2017. As a result, emerging markets (comprised broadly of Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) will grow from 39.2% in 2012 to 51% in 2017.