Tablets are thriving in a declining market, but according to the purchase habits of Canadian consumers, bigger is by no means better.
According to The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, tablets are growing at five percent, but it is the smaller models—those with decreased screen sizes, memory, speed and price points—that have gained the most consumer interest and are now showing the most growth.
When looking at screen size, seven-inch models have had a unit sales increase of 24 percent and now represent 18 percent of overall sales. This is in comparison to 7.9-inch screens, whose sales have declined by 19 percent with a 26 percent market share and 9.7-inch screens, whose sales have declined by eight percent and now hold a 34 percent.
"Portability at affordable price is top of mind for consumers purchasing mobile devices because they’re typically using them on the go for small projects, quick research and activities that pass the time,” explains Darrel Ryce, director of Technology and Entertainment at The NPD Group.
“Smaller tablets likely won’t replace some of the more traditional IT products available, like desktops and notebooks, but they do need to be able to fit conveniently in smaller purses or bags for easy travel," Ryce added.
Owning a tablet with 3G or 4G capabilities is not a priority for consumers either, as devices without this functionality have a market share of 90 percent.
“The consumer today is showing the market that devices that are not fully loaded are sufficient to meet their needs,” noted Ryce. “Adding more into the device does not necessarily translate into increased sales.”
With competitive price tags and regular discounts, the low-end tablet market has increased by 12 share points since last year. Devices under $300, for example, now represent almost one third of the market (31 per cent) and are currently growing at 72 percent.
Apple, the world's most valuable technology company, has sold more than 200 million iPads. The company makes 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch tablets.