In a surprising turn of events, the manufacturer of low-cost Aakash tablet Datawind has turned out to be the third-largest vendor of tablet computers in India, according to a report by CyberMedia Research called India Quarterly Media Tablets Market Review for 3Q 2012, December 2012. The report states that Datawind has a share of 12.3 percent in the country's tablet market, in terms of sales (unit shipments) during the third quarter (July-September) of 2012.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung is leading the tablet market in India with a share of 23.9 percent, followed by Micromax, which holds a 15.3 percent share, thereby claiming the second spot in the Indian tablet market. The overall tablet market in India recorded sales of 1.1 million units in the quarter. 

The report states that the tablet market in the country has become one of the key drivers of data/content consumption in a short span. It attributes this statement to the fact that roughly 135 vendors have launched their tablets in the country until Q3 2012. The Average Sales Value of tablets in India during Q3 2012 was approximately Rs 13,200, while 63.5 percent of all sales were below the Rs 10,000-mark.

The report also presented key trending features in terms of specifications of media tablet devices in the Indian market during Q3 2012. As far as connectivity options go, Wi-Fi emerged as the most important, claiming a 63.2 percent share in total sales. 7-inch displays emerged as another trending form factor, with a whopping 77.9 percent share in total sales. Android emerged as the trending OS in India and claimed a 91.3 percent share of the total sales. 

The table below shows the other key feature trends of the tablet market in India:

Table showing trending features in Indian tablet market

Table showing trending features in Indian tablet market

CMR expects the Windows 8-based media tablets to be the main highlight in the market. “In 2013, the country will witness tablet PCs being made available on MS Windows 8 from all leading OEMs. This is expected to bring about several changes in market dynamics such as OS shares, ASVs etc,” the report states

CMR states enterprises will see increasing adoption of tablet PCs as part of the larger trend towards mobility. “So far enterprises have been trying to understand the role of tablets in the enterprise space. Through 2012, at different forums industry leaders were seen deliberating upon several industry vertical-focused use cases of tablets and these are expected to be implemented in 2013. With BYOD an increasing reality, this implementation will very likely to gain an impetus across verticals,” it adds. 

A few OEMs are expected to announce LTE/LTE-ready tablets for the Indian market in 2013. The report adds that while there haven’t been many tablets announced yet supporting LTE worldwide, India, rightly poised at the juncture of an LTE ‘big bang’, can be an attractive destination for players who can meet the expectations of Indian customers across segments. 

Interestingly, for the current year, CMR expects tablets to gain traction as the chosen device for first time computing enthusiasts and for those seeking high data consumption applications over LTE networks. “There could be some cleansing in the market for sub-INR 5,000 tablets,” it adds. Importantly, the report adds that the current year is likely to see some of the players in this segment closing shop due to lack of market acceptability and increasing expectations of consumers, where these devices are bound to fail.

According to the report, 2013 will see the tablet market crystallise around three price points: Rs 5,000-10,000; Rs 15,000-20,000 and over Rs 35,000. “Some vendors might have to undertake price corrections to fit their devices within these three price segments, to serve the market aptly and participate in these high-volume price levels,” it states.

While CMR expects the total shipments for the tablet market in India to close at 3 million units in 2012, the market is expected to increase by at least 100 percent in the current year (double the number of units sold in 2012). The report attributes this growth to a large number of launches by OEMs focusing on the Indian consumer market for mobile computing and data communication products.

CMR adds that in case large deals are announced by vendors for supplies to the central / state governments for distribution to university, college and high school students, the expected number of tablet sales for 2013 could easily exceed 6 million units.

Commenting on the outlook of Media Tablets for 2013, Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice added, “To my mind two key developments are going to change the India Media Tablets market significantly – one is the availability of Windows 8 based devices and the adoption of Tablets by enterprises for serious and real business applications. The introduction of Windows 8 and its success, if any, will establish the availability of a second OS option for OEMs to develop new Tablet PCs on. The adoption of Tablet PCs by enterprises will change the way in which these devices are perceived at the moment. Tablets will most likely then come to be considered a mainstream device and be seen as much more than a novelty or for restricted use in the Education, Entertainment and Infotainment segments. This will signal the arrival of the Tablet as a mainstream business device.”

Cover Image credit: Gettty Images

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