ABI Research said on Thursday that it expects a 20 percent growth in tablet shipments this year over 2013. The firm expects “branded tablet shipments,” those made by major manufacturers, to surpass 200 million units this year, up from 166 million units shipped during 2013. The increase is expected to occur as new markets like Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa begin purchasing more of the devices. Those areas will join mature tablet markets like North America, Western Europe, Japan and South Korea, ABI Research said. New tablets with Intel chips will also help drive growth.
“If Intel is able to achieve its goal of 40 million tablets with its processor technology, the silicon vendor will suddenly become a significant player,” ABI Research senior practice director Jeff Orr said. “One of the greatest opportunities this year is for development, manufacturing and marketing of tablets on a regional and even local level, which shakes up the vendor ecosystem of the past four years. Partnerships and deals struck this year will be key for the next for years of tablet adoption.”
Intel has largely powered Microsoft’s Surface tablets and others running Windows 8.1. Most Intel-powered devices take advantage of the chip maker’s Atom-branded processors though more powerful entrants also use its Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs and are able to compete more aggressively with laptops, often at lower prices.
In North America, however, the iPad still remains king – a position ABI Research says has been held since 2010. With new market entrants, however, North America and in turn the global iPad share may decrease. Globally, Android is far more popular as a tablet operating system than iOS. Shipments in North America are expected to “drop below 50 percent of all branded tablet shipments for the first time,” ABI Research said.