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Small tablets a hit in Canada, says NPD Group
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Small tablets a hit in Canada, says NPD Group 

In a recently released report, analysts said that tablets are performing very well in a declining market. They rank in the top five IT categories, along with toner, notebooks, inkjet cartridges and desktops. Smaller tablets, those with reduced screen sizes, memory and speed, have made the biggest inroads and show the greatest amount of growth. Darrel Ryce, director, technology and entertainment, NPD Group, offered his insights into the smaller-is-better trend amongst Canadian consumers.

Ryce sees a few reasons for the Canadian public’s embrace of smaller tablets. “We are seeing the market lean more towards the masses which typically mean lower prices to attract consumers who initially did not purchase due to higher prices,” he remarked. Ryce also attributes smaller tablets’ popularity to Canadian consumer buying habits. “The second reason speaks to multi-ownership of tablets evolving within Canadian households,” he remarked. “With overall household penetration of tablets above 65% we now see a shift with households building the number of tablets within their home. Typically when it comes to multi-ownership we see lower priced product entering the household.”

Expect smaller tablets to be a mainstay, Ryce predicted. “We would anticipate that over the next year or so that the lower priced options will remain a growing segment,” he commented. Shoppers might become interested in pricier, better-equipped models down the line, though. “Later on when consumers begin their consideration to replace their existing tablets with a newer model we would expect to see a shift again to higher priced alternatives,” Ryce stated.

Such higher priced alternatives feature larger screens, more memory and 3G or 4G capabilities. The NPD Group’s study showed that sales of tablets with 32GB of built-in memory have declined by 28%. And tablets without 3G or 4G capabilities have increased their market share by 90%. Ryce explained that Canadian consumers are less interested in these capabilities because of where they use them. “Simply put the tablet is a device that is used, for the most part, in the house,” he noted. “Consistently we have seen results that show that tablet usage is overwhelmingly done so within the home. In addition when consumers are outside the home the availability of hotspots or open Wi-Fi access at coffee shops or other businesses, consumers can easily connect through those means.”

While better-equipped tablets might not appeal to Canadian consumers, device makers will continue to manufacture more sophisticated models. However, those shoppers looking for simpler models should not despair. “We would also expect that most device makers will also offer a mix of devices that would address the needs of many different consumers,” Ryce reassured Canadian consumers.

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