Will Smaller Tablets Outsell the Big Slates in 2013?

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Apple famously refused to sell a 7″ tablet for many years, then reversed that notion and came out with the iPad mini last year and it sold very well. iPad mini and its many cousins have solidified the smaller tablet market.

Display Search reported yesterday that in the first month of 2013, tablet PC panel shipments shifted dramatically toward smaller screen sizes.

Look at that growth in the 7″ and 7.9″ sizes. And the collapse in the 9.7″ size. In case you haven’t kept up with tablet screen sizes, that’s the size of the new iPad. The reduction might be just an adjustment for post-holiday sales, but still, it’s interesting that shipments of the iPad mini panels increased while the iPad size decreased. Other tablets use the 9.7″ size as well, so I don’t want to read too much into it. Still, it’s food for thought. And Display Search seems to agree:

The January panel shipment data may be an indicator for 2013, starting with Apple’s product mix shift. As we noted in December, Apple had planned to sell 40M iPad minis (7.9”) and 60M iPads (9.7”) in 2013. However, the reality seems to be the reverse, as the iPad mini has been more popular than the iPad. We now understand that Apple may be planning to sell 55M iPad minis (7.9”) and 33M iPads (9.7”) in 2013. At the same time, Samsung, Amazon, Google, ASUS and Acer are all eyeing the 7-9” segment to grab tablet PC market share…

I personally like my 7″ Nexus 7, and I use it more than my iPad 2. However, the larger iPad screen has its uses, and I don’t think I’d abandon the larger tablet entirely.

How about you? If you’re in the market for a tablet, are you leaning toward small or large?

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