SAN FRANCISCO -- Market research firm IHS iSuppli has increased its forecast for global panel tablet shipments, citing a surge in orders from unbranded, white-box Chinese manufacturers.
IHS now forecasts that 262 million tablet displays will ship this year, an increase of 6 percent from the firm's previous forecast. The forecasted total represents a 69 percent increase from the 2012 total, according to the firm's latest LCD industry tracking report.
"Competitive dynamics in the tablet market have changed dramatically this year as Chinese white-box smartphone makers have entered the tablet market in droves," said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS, in a statement.
According to Park, the Chinese firms are producing large quantities of low-end tablets that appeal to consumers in China and other developing economies. As a result, they are driving up demand for tablet panels, especially smaller panels that use the older twisted nematic technology, Park said.
According to IHS, unbranded tablet makers purchased 40 percent of all tablet panels in April, up from 17 percent in the first quarter of 2012.
IHS said it expects shipments of 8- and 9-inch tablet displays to rise by nearly 200 percent in 2013. Shipments of larger displays in the 9-, 10-, and 11-inch range are expected to decline by 5 percent, the firm said.
According to IHS, the Chinese white-box manufacturers are able to produce tablets at lower cost, more quickly and with greater flexibility in production compared to rivals. These companies can also manufacture unbranded tablets while at the same time manufacturing for the major brands on a contract manufacturing basis, IHS said.
"Playing to their strengths, the white-box manufacturers are set to continue to increase their presence in tablets and propel the expansion of the overall tablet market," Park said.
With the upcoming launch of the Bay Trail version of Intel Corp.'s Atom chip, the market for larger tablets with screens of 10 inches and above may begin to recover, according to IHS. Bay Trail could help reduce the cost of x86 microprocessor-based tablets and improve battery life, as well as generating opportunities for hybrid-form tablets that include keyboards, IHS said.