I wrote a post last week on what’s driving smartphone/Android adoption in emerging markets. I wrote mostly about smartphones and largely ignored the tablet market.
And like clockwork, IDC just released a report on the tablet market in India. In short:
- The tablet market is booming as “shipments soared to 2.66 million in 2012, a mammoth 901 percent year-on-year growth from 2011…”;
- It’s dominated by Android with Apple having <10% of the market;
- Low-cost (<$250), 7″ tablets are vast majority of share;
- Local players like Micromax and Karbonn and cheap Chinese imports are winning even though Samsung has the largest market share. Note: local players still use contract manufacturing in China, but they’re Indian brands.
I wouldn’t expect any major changes to Android/non-Apple dominance in the near future. Apple simply can’t compete on price in a market where most consumers can’t shell out hundreds of dollars for even an iPad mini.
Also, as with the smartphone market, I’d expect spending on cheap Android tablets in India to continue to grow rapidly. Prices will continue to decline, there’s several government initiatives aimed at growing tablet access, and you have Reliance’s 4G rollout coming soon. Expect Reliance 4G rollout to pair a cheap Android tablet with affordable data plans and bundled content/services.
The next really interesting question that needs to be answered is what killer apps and services are going to be built on top of all of these tablet and smartphone devices, especially in India. And can they figure out a way to make money in a market where non-text, non-search mobile advertising is extremely low in $ terms and where consumers willingness to spend is low.
I think WhatsApp is the first app to really take advantage of the Android adoption trend in emerging markets like India, and it’s also showing the way in terms of how to monetize price-sensitive users at scale. More on this soon.