Have you bought a tablet recently? Chances are if you have, it is a model that cost less than R2 000. That’s because 60% of the tablets sold in South Africa during the second quarter of the year were in that price range.

According to findings by research firm IDC, South Africa bucked the trend for falling sales of tablets with an increase of 56% year-on-year over the same period. And that growth was almost entirely down to low cost tablets.

The firm noted that while the biggest decision-maker for buying a specific tablet was the price, manufacturers of cheap products have improved the quality, design and user experience of many of their products – and consumers have taken note.

IDC says lower prices for tablets that are better than ever has led to the stagnation of the higher end of the tablet market over the last year and a half. And with the rand currently being exchanged at a rate of $1 for R13.21, it is no wonder that people are looking for cheaper alternatives.

“The stagnation of the higher-end segments of the market is having a negative impact on premium brands,” says Joseph Hlongwane, a systems and infrastructure solutions analyst at IDC Africa.

He added that the drop in sales for the more expensive tablets is expected to carry on over the next couple of quarters.

“The disappointing performance of these premium brands is expected to continue due to the bleak economic conditions, but these same conditions represent a huge opportunity for vendors that manufacture tablets targeted at the lower end of the market.”

It’s not all bad news though. While people are thinking twice before buying an expensive tablet, the lower end of the market is expected to keep the SA tablet market afloat, at least for the time being.

“Consequently, IDC expects the South African tablet market to continue growing at double-digit rates throughout 2015, spurred by strong demand for low-priced tablets,” Hlongwane concluded.

This doesn’t bode well for Samsung’s plans to develop a monster 18.4-inch Android tablet, and certainly not for anyone hoping to see them head to South Africa when and if they are released.

[Image – CC by 2.0/michele ficara manganelli]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.