The market research firm’s latest Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database indicates that tablet PC panel shipments “shifted dramatically” towards smaller screen sizes in January of this year, another sure sign of the iPad mini’s continued success.
In fact, DisplaySearch notes that smaller tablets have been in such demand that this trend is having an adverse effect on larger models. The firm says that while shipments of 9.7-inch tablet panels dropped from 7.4 million to a paltry 1.3 million units last month, 7-inch and 7.9-inch panels increased from 12 million to 14 million. 10.1-inch tablet panel shipments grew but only “slightly”.
This beginning of a shift to smaller tablets also looks to have been noted by Apple with DisplaySearch claiming that Tim Cook’s company now expects to sell more iPad minis than iPads in 2013.
“Apple had planned to sell 40 million iPad minis and 60 million iPads in 2013,” said DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh on the company’s blog.
“However, the reality seems to be the reverse, as the iPad mini has been more popular than the iPad. We now understand that Apple may be planning to sell 55 million iPad minis and 33 million iPads in 2013.”
However, while the rise of these smaller tablets is seemingly having a knock-on effect larger models, DisplaySearch does still expect tablet panel shipments to rise significantly from 160 million in 2012 to 254 million this year.
Of that figure, the research firm anticipates that 5-inch to 8.9-inch panels will account for 136 million units, with 9-10-inch models hitting 118 million.
This isn’t the first time DisplaySearch or other researchers have noted inclining demand for smaller tablets, a sector which has been led not only by the iPad mini but also by Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7.
DisplaySearch said that 7 to 8-inch tablets will grow to account for 45% of all models in 2013, while Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies also highlighted increasing demand for smaller tablets at the TabletBiz conference in New York.