Context: Tablet market continues to suffer

The demand for tablets across Western Europe continues to suffer with Context figures for the third quarter highlighting a shift away from smaller screen offerings

The return to some growth in the desktop PC market has benefited from two main factors in recent quarters as the move away from Windows XP has also coincided with a decline in the demand for tablets.

A movement away from smaller screen tablets is something that looks set to be a feature of the market for a little bit lomger with the latest figures from Context indicating that the third quarter also saw declines.

The analyst house has revealed a segmented market where screens above 10 inches are growing in popularity and those below are struggling to chime with customers.

Context found that tablet unit sales across Western Europe sold via distribution fell by 10% year-on-year in the third quarter, with market saturation and longer product lifecycles to blame.

Some users might also be waiting for the arrival of a larger iPad, which is expected to come out next year with a 12.5in screen, although working out quite what will be released is still open to plenty of speculation.

“Apple is typically keeping its cards close to its chest regarding what announcements might be made at its Cupertino HQ event on 16 October,” said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context.

Because of its market dominance Apple took a hit in the third quarter with unit sales of 9.7in tablets dropping by 2.9% year-on-year and sales of 7.9in devices, including the iPad Mini slumping by 22.6%.

The worst performing segment was the 7in which saw a 37.8% drop, partly because of the requirement for larger screens and also because of the competition at that end of the market.

On the flip side 10.1in category improved by 7.7&, which now has a 26% share of the tablet market.

Last month as a result of continued weakness in the Western European tablet market IDC revised its worldwide forecast downwards almost halving the expectations from a 12.1% improvement year-on-year to just 6.5%.

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