(Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Cape Town - The sales of tablets may have cooled, but not in developing markets like Africa.
Research released from industry tracker the IDC showed that tablet sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) saw growth of over 70% in the first three months of 2014, even as growth in developed markets declined for the first time.
"Most other regions around the world experienced a year-on-year slowdown in growth during Q1 2014, or even an overall decline," said Adriana Rangel, research director at IDC.
"But the MEA tablet market continues to expand tremendously, a trend that can primarily be attributed to the additional focus that vendors have placed on this region due to numerous country markets not reaching their full potential, particularly in Africa."
The IDC reported that growth in the MEA region at 77.3%, reaching four million units by the end of March this year.Phablets
"Samsung was particularly active on the marketing front, launching numerous new models that helped it retain top spot in the market with a total volume of 974 600 units for the quarter," said the IDC.
Apple came in second at 751 934, and General Mobile third with 352 245 units. Following them were Lenovo and Asus at 266 049 and 189 895 units respectively.
IDC said that the sale of tablets in developed markets will continue to lose steam as the upgrade cycle is longer than companies had bet, and tablets often had a "second life" as they were handed down to children or other family members.
The rise of large screen smartphones, with screens in excess of 14cm, also known as phablets, also contributed to the slowing of tablets.
In the past year, IDC said, the phablet share of smartphone shipments has more than doubled, from 4.3% in the first quarter of 2013 to 10.5% in early 2014.
Devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note had disrupted the tablet market as consumers could have a tablet experience on a smartphone.
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