The sales of 4G-enabled tablets overtook that of 3G tablets for the first time in the April-June quarter of this year, numbers from CyberMedia Research showed.
About 36% of the tablets sold in India during the three months came with 4G technology, while 33% came with support for only 3G high-speed data.
In the preceding January-March quarter, 41% of the tablets were 3G-enabled ones, while only 33% came with 4G.
Sales of 4G tablets increased 8% compared to the preceding three months.
The transition to LTE, however, is far slower than that seen in the smartphone space. It is expected that around 75% of all smartphones sold in India today feature LTE.
The transition to 4G was not enough to cause a turnaround in India’s 4G market, which has been suffering from the onslaught of larger and larger smartphones.
Unlike two years ago, when most smartphones had a screen-size of 4.5-5.0 inch, most smartphones today have a size of 5.0-5.5 inches.
Moreover, smartphones offer far better specifications for the price compared to tablets.
While 4G smartphones with HD screens can be purchased for around Rs 5,500, a similar tablet will cost twice that.
According to CyberMedia Research’ Quarterly Tablet PC Market Review, the number of tablets sold in India fell 11% in April-June compared to the previous three months. Compared to the same three months of 2016, the decline was to the extent of 29%.
A total of 0.68 million tablets were sold in the three months. In contrast, around 30 million smartphones are estimated to be sold in the country every quarter.
According to CyberMedia Research, Datawind continued to be the leader in the tablet market during the April-June quarter with a 27% market share.
iBall came in second with 16%, followed by Lenovo and Samsung with 14% market share each.
Sales of 2G & WiFi-only models increased 17% & 21% respectively in the three months, whereas 3G based tablets witnessed sharp decline of 19%.
Android continued to remain the preferred OS choice with 90% market share while iOS market share remained steady at 10%.
Tablets with 2GB RAM & 16GB embedded memory dominated the market.
They saw a sequential increase of 52% from last year & 15% from previous three months
Those with 5 Megapixel primary camera tablets witnessed 61% YOY sequential growth whereas 2 Megapixel secondary camera tablets witnessed 63% YOY sequential growth.
10.1 inch of tablet witnessed huge sequential growth of 445% in YOY comparison.
Datawind’s tablet model Ubislate 7SC Star witnessed 473% YOY sequential growth.
“Sharp growth in tablets for INR 20-30 K price band segment is attributed to the entry of Apple iPad Wi-Fi model (32GB variant),” CMR said.
“The smartphones have eroded the tablet market because smartphones are the primary devices with big screens, high mega pixel camera and many other attractive features for the users,” the market research firm said.
On the other hand, tablet market share is declining due to their bulky weight and higher prices, it said.
“Tablets face competition from the smartphone market as well as from lighter laptops. There are not much differentiating factors between laptops and tablets. Therefore, the tablet market needs to have a fresh positioning in the 4G tablet market at the price range of INR 20k-30k. The focus should be on innovative features (e.g. service enabled or solution based etc) with a well defined target audience.”
CMR said it expects phablets — with screen sizes in the 6.0 inch range — to be “the next wave” in the country and will eat the market share of tablets.
“Besides phablets, Graphic tablets, slate tablets and detachable tablets have the potential to attract new customers and therefore can pull up the whole tablet market,” it said.