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Tablet Affordability Index shows drop in average selling prices with some notable surprises

by David Needle

December 9 2013

How long does it take to save up to a buy a tablet? With tablet prices skewing down in the U.S., particularly during this holiday season, consumers may not give this equation a lot of consideration. 

But a new worldwide study of consumers by ABI Research found a wide disparity in how long it takes individuals to save up for a new tablet based on income.

For example, in the U.S., where most of the world’s branded tablets are sold, it takes only a few days of income for individuals to afford a mainstream device . But in Indonesia and Philippines buyers will need more than 4 weeks’ income, assuming they’d want to spend that much on a new tablet.

The average selling price (ASP) of a tablet in the U.S. stands at $343 compared to $445 in 2012. But for the second straight year the ASP of tablets in Chile is among the highest in the world at US$614. Part of the reason for this is interest in Apple’s higher-priced iPad line.

“Similar to China and even Brazil, there is brand cache associated with the Apple brand in Chile that attracts an early audience willing to pay a premium,” the study says.

That $614 ASP in Chile is actually down significantly from a year ago whe it was almost a hundred dollars higher at $712, 

Where the iPad is less available or there's less interest in it, the ASP goes down. Average tablet prices in Ukraine and Poland, for example, fell in half over the past year to below US$300. Meanwhile, ABI said India encountered a significant drop resulting in the lowest tablet ASPs in the study. 

“This is primarily due to the lower penetration of Apple's iPad products compared to other brands. Should additional countries see a switch from majority Apple to a more competitive shipment level, this same trend is expected to follow.”

(Worth Reading: 8 best sub-$300 tablets to splash some cash on this holiday season)

On the whole, lower prices

“Every country encountered a drop in tablet ASPs and greater affordability year-over-year,” says Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI Research. “This is not surprising given the broader range of vendors and competitive pressure to use price as a lever to secure an audience.”

The report reviewed tablet ASPs and the gross national income (GNI) per capita and average size of household for 22 countries to determine the length of time it will take to purchase a tablet in the local market.

(For the latest data and stats about tablets and apps, bookmark TabTimes’ The State of the Tablet Market)

David Needle is Editor of TabTimes and based in Silicon Valley.
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