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When Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released its iPad mini last year, many critics accused the company of lacking innovation. The 7.9-inch tablet does not have a retina screen or exciting new features. However, a smaller cheaper tablet is exactly what consumers are buying.
Dollar votes matter the most in the retail industry, and shoppers are voting for more affordable tablets, even if the screen sizes are smaller. Market research firm International Data Corporation now expects the worldwide tablet market to reach 190.9 million units in 2013, up from its previous forecast of 172.4 million units. Between 2013 and 2016, the tablet industry is expected to grow by 11 percent annually. Tablet shipments are forecast to be upwards of 350 million units by the end of 2017, due to the popularity of smaller tablets.
“One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond” said Jitesh Ubrani, research analyst for IDC’s Tablet Tracker. “Vendors are moving quickly to compete in this space as consumers realize that these small devices are often more ideal than larger tablets for their daily consumption habits.”
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