Research firm IDC is projecting a growth rate of 19.4 percent for tablets (including 2-in-1 devices) in 2014 — down from the 51.6 percent growth rate in 2013.
Its 2014 forecast — that 260.9 million units will be shipped worldwide this year — is down 3.6 precent from its previous projection.
“After years of strong growth, we expect the white-box tablet market to slow in 2014 as consumers move to higher-end devices that work better and last longer,” Tom Mainelli, an IDC analyst, said in a news release. “In mature markets, where many buyers have purchased higher-end products from market leaders, consumers are deciding that their current tablets are good enough for the way they use them. Few are feeling compelled to upgrade the same way they did in years past, and that’s having an impact on growth rates.”
Though that would seem to not bode well for Microsoft, which has been late to the tablet market, IDC actually has a fairly good projection for Microsoft. Even as consumer demand for tablets and 2-in-1 devices drop, the demand from businesses should rise — a development that IDC says is likely to benefit Microsoft eventually.
“The choice of operating system will be a key differentiating factor when it comes to success in the commercial segment,” Jiteseh Ubrani, an IDC analyst said in the news release. “Though Android and iOS will remain dominant, we expect Windows-based devices to capture more than a quarter of the market as its benefits become apparent thanks to growing adoption of 2-in-1s.”
Here’s IDC’s chart with its forecast of commercial vs consumer shipments: