JP Morgan marked down tablet builds, citing weaker-than-expected demand for Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" and RIM BlackBerry PlayBook tablets as they try to challenge Apple's iPad.
Another prominent equity research firm has ratcheted down
its expectations for the tablet market, thanks to weaker-than-expected sales of
slates other than Apple's iPad.
JP Morgan said build plans for tablets other than the
iPad have slowed, with a prediscounted stockpile of 73 million units versus
the firm's March 9 tally of 81 million slates.
"Our research indicates that tablet build plans in
the aggregate have declined approximately 10 percent since early March,"
JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in a report issued June 1. "Beyond
Apple's iPad, there has not been another high-volume tablet offering to hit the
Moskowitz added that the driver of the prediscounted
build decline is the weak volume showing in the market from the non-Apple
Apple has sold more than 20 million iPads since the
launch of the seminal slate in April 2010. However, the much-hyped, and
3.0 "Honeycomb"-based Motorola Xoom
tablet, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Asustek Eee Pad Transformer and RIM's
PlayBook have sold only in a modest capacity, the analyst wrote.
Officially, the Xoom sold
250,000 units in under two months, while the PlayBook is believed to have
sold 250,000 units in one month.
However, Moskowitz said there had been some
indications that the Eee Pad Transformer tablet was selling out in the retail
channel in April and May, but his research indicated the slate had not even made it
to many of the targeted retail outlets
prior to the supposed sell-outs.
One reason for the slower-than-expected sales, he cited,
is that first generation of non-iPad tablets don't offer compelling price or
enough features to drive incremental purchasers within vendors' projections.
Moreover, JP Morgan expects there to be limited build
activity because tablet vendors are waiting to see how the back-to-school
reception is, as well as waiting to launch 4G LTE tablets.
Ultimately, the firm puts consensus estimates for tablet
shipments at around 50 million to 55 million units for 2011.
JP Morgan is hardly the first firm to adjust tablet
estimates after Android Honeycomb tablets and the PlayBook failed to follow the
iPad in setting the tablet world afire.
Financial research firms Goldman Sachs and Jefferies
& Co. have both ratcheted down
expectations for the tablet market, thanks to thin demand for Honeycomb
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek noted that his firm six
months ago forecast 100 million tablets would sell in 2011. After polling
1,400 consumers in North America, Europe and Asia and performing a competitive
analysis, Misek slashed those figures by 30 percent.
"We now believe 70 million to be more realistic due
to: 1) Android 3.0 Honeycomb needing polishing, and 2) Android tablets that are
priced too high," Misek wrote in a research note May 17.
Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope lowered his total tablet
market estimates for 2011 and 2012, and raised those for the iPad in the
"Our iPad forecast remains unchanged, though we have
lowered our non-Apple tablet unit assumptions by 2.3 million units in 2011 and
2012," Shope wrote in a research note.