Tablets have enjoyed meteoric success in recent years, with 2013 seeing more international sales of tablets than laptops and with market analysts Canalys suggesting that they could become more popular than notebooks in 2014 and reach market dominance in the personal computer sector.

These predictions may not come to pass, recent investigations by IDC have indicated. An analysis by the market intelligence group predicted that worldwide tablet sales are set to increase by 19.4% in 2014.While this might sound like a dramatic leap, it marks a substantial fall from the 51.6% growth in international tablet sales seen in 2013.

IDC said that people in mature markets think that their current tablets are suitable for the way they use them, with fewer people planning to upgrade the device than used to. Those who are buying new tablets are likely to buy higher-end devices that will last for longer and work better, it added.

However, with tablet sales still set to rise by almost one-fifth this year, warnings about the dire state of the market may be premature. The IDC also pointed out that although the average price of tablets has fallen rapidly in the last two years, this may be slowing, with prices only set to drop by 3.6% in 2014, compared with 18.3% in 2012 and 14.6% in 2013, potentially providing further health to the industry.

This decline in price erosion will not just be driven by consumer demands for higher-spec devices, but also a growth in commercial tablet use. Although most commercial tablet use so far is in sectors such as education, the IDC predicted that businesses of all sizes will begin using tablets in the coming years. In 2013, just 11% of tablets were used in the commercial sector, but the IDC said this will jump to 14% in 2014 and reach 18% in 2018.

Most tablets will continue to use Android and iOS, but Windows-based devices will benefit from the growth in commercial tablet use, and should take up at least 25% of the market by the end of this year, the IDC said.

Predictions about the future of the tablet market should always be treated with some scepticism – Canalys’ and the IDC’s predictions about the future of tablets are somewhat contrasting. Manufacturers may produce a tablet that is ideal for all business settings, or next-generation smartphones could prove to be just as functional as tablets. Whatever happens, Gadget Cover will be here, providing low-cost tablet insurance you can rely on.