As the sales for desktops and NBs have been weakening, tablets have become the crucial production line for brands to achieve target sales. According to WitsView, the display research division of the global intelligence provider TrendFroce, in an attempt to meet consumers’ diverse and various needs, tablets’ crucial features change year by year. The 2011 focus was the lift in the resolution, the 2012 key point laid on the attractiveness of low-priced products, and the bright spot for this year is expected to be the emergence of new sizes. Based on the current development of the tablet market, the 8” products take a posture of both attacking and defending, and the segmentation of this new size must be the next battle field among brands.
WitsView’s research director Eric Chiou says that the main striking force to 8” tablets is from the replacement effect of 7” tablets. Currently, the 7” tablets show remarkable diversity and even can be described as flooding, and the price-cutting among brands results in an unprofitable scorched earth for the 7”, he adds. The most important feature for the 8” tablet promotion is the application of the narrow bezel design. The narrow bezel helps to minimize the dimension of the 8” as small as the 7” and allows a bigger diagonal by 1 inch and a larger display. If it works with the similar pricing strategy, the scene that the 8” tablet replaces the 7” will soon be on the stage.
In addition that it is positioned as the successor of the 7” tablet, the 8” is seen as a weapon for the non-Apple camp to fight against iPad mini. With its slim shape and stylish design, iPad has gained quite traction among consumers. In view of sizes, the 8”, slightly larger than 7.85” iPad mini, shows more advantages in spec. In view of prices, the 8” tablet is priced USD 50-100 lower in average than iPad mini except for the products with special functions and spec. The 8” tablet has its clear intention in targeting iPad mini with its larger size and lower price tag.
Chiou indicates the 8” tablet not only invades the mark aggressively but is a key tool to fight against the Phablet that approaches urgently. The large-sized Phablet with an above 6” display is first launched by the second tier smart phone brands, but with the ideal sales results, the global smart phone leader Samsung has also announced to reveal the 6.3” product to respond, showing the segment of the Phablet has established. With the smart phone sizes growing, the squeezing effect among sizes should first take place in the small-sized tablet market. Taking the 6.3” for example, the 7” tablet’s viewing area is only 23% larger, and the small difference makes the 7” tablet in an awkward position. Contrarily, the 8” has a 61% larger viewing area than the 6.3”, allowing more comfort when either reading or video watching. The much clearer segmentation can naturally ease the spreading fire brought by the Phablet.
Based on WitsView’s estimates, the 8” tablet is still in the design-in phase in the first half of the year, accounting for 4.5% of the overall tablet shipment. But form the second half of the year, brand forerunners, including Samsung, acer, HP, Lenovo, and Asus, will showcase products of this size to join the arena, and the proportion for the 8” tablet will grow to 17.6%. In view of yearly performances, the market share for the 8” was merely 2.6% in 2012 and lifts largely to 11.9% in 2013. Undoubtedly, the surfacing of the 8” products will be the main play for the tablet market development this year.