Last month, analysts began predicting that tablet manufacturers would begin introducing 8-inch tablet models this fall to compete with Apple’s iPad Mini. Sure enough, tablet manufacturers such as LG began to announce such tablets at the beginning of September. Now, with the back-to-school season coming to a close, it appears that the demand for 8-inch tablets may not have matched manufacturer expectations.
DigiTimes today reported that component orders for 8-inch tablets are now dropping. The report’s unnamed “Taiwan-based component makers” are quoted as saying 8-inch tablet sales have failed to meet manufacturer goals.
Tablet manufacturers reportedly expected tablet sizes to gradually increase the way smartphone sizes have been for the past few years. It turns out, however, that Amazon may have been on the mark originally with its 7-inch Kindle Fire design. Low-cost, 7-inch tablets now make up a majority of the global tablet market. Some analysts have estimated that 7-inch tablets make up as much as 70% of the market. Meanwhile, 8-inch tablets are expected to make up only 10% of total tablet shipments this year, up from only 3% of the market in 2012.
Low 8-inch tablet demand may not come as good news for manufacturers trying to find their place in the mini-tablet market. The segment is already crowded, with Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and even Asus crowding out newer entries in the space. With demand for even 10-inch tablets dropping for some manufacturers, it doesn’t appear that new entries into 7-inch market will be bringing anything new to spur consumer excitement and sales.