Market intelligence firm ABI Research predicts that 145 million tablet devices will ship globally this year, thanks in large part to new affordable options like the iPad mini and Windows 8 tablets.
Winning over emerging markets has always been a challenge for mobile product companies. Most tablet activity has centered on North America in the past. Younger, growing economies such as India, China and Brazil have not been as impressed by the iPad, Nexus, Slate, Kindle or Galaxy models. ABI Research believes this is about to change.
The research company foresees business interest in tablets growing by 19 percent in 2013 as more and more international companies adopt their flexibility in the workplace, while other firms develop mobile content designed to assist businesses rather than individual consumers.
On the individual front, new designs are expected to fuel worldwide growth, with North America accounting for only around 50 percent of 2013 shipments (a relatively low number compared to past years). Computer manufacturers, with an eye on the global front, have begun producing mobile devices with lower price tags to suit the middle class of the emerging markets. The lower costs of products like the iPad mini will make a mark with a broader global audience. The multitude of tablets hitting the shelves with Windows 8 and other new platforms are also selling at lower costs, which will aid international tablet adoption, too.
Unfortunately, the forecast for the dedicated eReader market is dismal, with other devices snapping up any potential eBook markets. “The facts are that the U.S. market continues to dominate eReader shipments and an aging Baby Boomer population looking to replicate the print reading experience is a waning audience,” stated senior practice director Jeff Orr. “If other world regions do not successfully organize digital publishing markets, the dedicated eReader market will go away without regard for adoption of tablets and other mobile devices.”
The next question for firms is how they will develop iPad mini/Windows 8 solutions to meet global demand. For now, most apps and tablet-based architecture choices are made for the North American or European markets. Simpler, faster website design can help many firms meet the hit-or-miss Internet speeds of emerging markets, but content will become critical, too. Image style and information clarity will no doubt become more important for companies pursuing new global markets.
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