Apple’s iPad mini has leapfrogged its bigger brother in terms of sales. If the latest figures and projections from NPD DisplaySearch are anything to go by it seems like the market has shifted and smaller tablets will take over in 2013. The main reasons for the swing are twofold, according to NPD; the price and the ability to hold the device in one hand. Overall the iPad mini is not doing so badly for a tweener.
Tablet PC Panel Shipment in Dec.’12 and Jan’13 (Million units)
CHART by NPD
The DisplaySearch blog says that “Apple had planned to sell 40M iPad minis (7.9”) and 60M iPads (9.7”) in 2013”. That’s a total of 100 million units. However the iPad mini has been much more popular than the iPad over Christmas and into the New Year. “We now understand that Apple may be planning to sell 55M iPad minis (7.9”) and 33M iPads (9.7”) in 2013,” said the blog. That’s a total of 88 million Apple tablet computers. Though that projection is down and skewed from what was put forward earlier, 88 million is still a big improvement on total combined sales of 58.31 million Apple iPads in 2012.
The focus upon smaller screened tablets isn’t just from Apple’s customers. NPD figures looks at industry-wide shipments which indicate that “in the first month of 2013, tablet PC panel shipments shifted dramatically toward smaller screen sizes”. You can see in the above chart the iPad mini spec 7.9-inch panels and an even bigger number of 7.0-inch panels. NPD notes that big hitting tech firms such as Samsung, Amazon, Google, ASUS and Acer are all trying to grab a slice of the action.
Further predictions in the report are that smartphones getting bigger will take sales away from the 7-inch tablets during 2013. Also NPD suggests that the mini tablets are about to get a shot in the arm with higher resolution displays.
An interesting question raised by DislpaySearch, is regarding how manufacturers will be able to raise the prices of the smaller tablets to make premium products and better profits. It’s difficult for many tablet makers to rise above brand agnostic commodity pricing in the smaller screened tablet market, right now only Samsung and Apple seem to be capable in that respect.