In today's obvious news that is obvious, a report from information and analysis company NPD DisplaySearch says that smaller tablets are losing ground to larger smartphones as consumers get used to phones with bigger screens. The report also gives other factors for the decline of smaller tablets, like consumers buying larger tablets instead of small ones. There will always be some room for those who prefer the 7-inch tablet and the 4 to 4.6-inch phone display, but this sort of thing was inherently inevitable. Larger displays on smartphones have been getting more and more popular for more than a year, and as the gap between the "phablet" sized smartphones and smaller tablets gets narrower, this was an expectancy to some degree.
The NPD report says that 11-inch and larger tablets will make up 10 percent of the tablet market and shipments of larger tablets will overtake shipments of smaller ones by 2018. That's a few years away, but it's a big shift from the current tablet market. In 2013, 58 percent of the tablet market was made up of devices with screens smaller than 8 inches. That's almost entirely made up of Google's Nexus 7. Screen size is expected to shift to somewhere between 8 and 11 inches over the next few years. With smartphones like the Note 3 coming in at 5.7-inches and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra at 6.4-inches, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see this shift coming. Smartphone screens are getting bigger, negating the need for 7-inch tablets. NPD's Vice President of Smart Application Research, Hisakazu Torii, says he expects the bigger tablet sizes to help increase overall tablet revenues. Even so, NPD has dropped its forecast of tablet shipments in 2014 to just 285 million devices worldwide.
DisplaySearch started in 1996 as an analysis and information company that focuses on display technology and the supply chain of related devices. They compile these reports and analyze data for companies so they can make more informed business decisions. They monitor trends for pretty much any technology that has a display on it, so smartphones and tablets fall squarely in their wheelhouse. The company talks to buyers, sellers, and manufacturers to keep their finger on the pulse of what's happening in the display industry. DisplaySearch was acquired by research and marketing company The NPD Group in 2005.