Sales of consumer electronic products often provide excellent examples of the classic bell shape of the traditional product life cycle. Global shipments (sales) of tablet computers such as the iPad seem to suggest that this shape is relevant too, with tablets now in a decline phase.
The latest data on global tablet shipments is illustrated in this excellent chart from Statista:
Worldwide tablet shipments declined by 12.3% in the second quarter of 2016, which was the seventh consecutive quarter in which the market declined in size on a year-over-year basis. According to IDC’s preliminary estimates, a total of 38.7 million devices were shipped between April and June 2016, down from 44.1 million in 2015.
Although most tablets shipped in the past quarter were Android-based, Apple continues to be the market leader with the gap between Apple and second-placed Samsung getting wider as Samsung suffered a fall in shipments by around 25%.
It will be interesting to see whether Apple, Samsung and other tablet providers attempt product extension strategies in order to reverse the decline phase, or at least reduce the speed of decline. I guess the question is, what else can you do to a tablet to encourage new customers to try one and existing customers to upgrade - other than simply upgrading the performance elements of the tablet?
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