As phones get bigger, tablets pay the price

The soaring popularity of big size phones, or phablets, is affecting sales of tablets in India, according to market tracker 6Wresearch.
Phablets, or phones with displays of 5 to 6 inches, have increasingly gained consumer affection due to three factors. First, they come with built-in cellular and 3G connectivity, unlike low-cost tablets that typically offer only Wi-Fi connectivity. Second, phablets come with at least quarter HD (0.5 megapixel), but often HD (1 megapixel), displays unlike cheaper tablets that offer displays with resolution of 0.4 megapixels or less. Finally, phablets also offer better portability not just due to the built in 3G but also because of the smaller size, which makes them pocketable.

Phablets with quad-core or octa-core processors with full HD displays are available in India for Rs 13,000-20,000.

6Wresearch said the sales of tablet PCs fell in the second half of 2013, compared to the second half of 2012. Samsung continued to the top vendor, followed by Micromax at the second place and Lenovo at the third place. A year earlier, Datawind was at the third place. Apple was not among the top three. The market research firm also said the sales of iPads and Windows tablets may increasing in the future.

Only about 1.9 mln tablet PCs were sold in the Indian market in the second half of last year compared to 2.2 mln in the same period of the previous year – a decline of 14%.

“India’s Tablet PC market for the first time recorded a decline in the unit shipments, primarily due to factors such as introduction of BIS guidelines, low profitability at entry level segment and shift of players focus towards enterprise segment of the market. Further, the India Tablet PC market also witnessed exit of few players, which resulted into further decline of the market.

“Another major factor responsible for the downturn of the market is the growing demand for phablets amongst Indian consumers. Growing popularity and declining prices of phablets is impacting the demand for Tablet PCs. However, market expects a growth over the coming quarters, wherein, major demand would be coming from enterprise segment and verticals such as retail, education, and banking and financial services,” the firm said.

The research firm said the competitive intensity among the brands in India was very high. Most Indian brands get their tablets made in China and sell their products at about half the price that Samsung charges for its Galaxy range of tablets.

“Samsung still leads the Indian market; however, regular shuffling of players for number two and three position is emerging as a new trend in the industry.”

Nokia, which has always kept out of the large-display form factor, recently launched the Nokia Lumia 1520 6-inch phablet, and may grab more market share in the tablet market.

“Over the coming quarters, Android based Tablets would continue to lead, but their growth might decline due to growing acceptance of Windows OS and increasing sales of Apple iPad,” it said.