Why tablets are cheaper than smartphones

April 20, 2016

The latest tablet from Samsung, the Galaxy Tab S2 costs $500 for the 9.7-inch model and $400 for the 8-inch model. Keep in mind this tablet was released in mid-2015, a few months after the Galaxy S6. The latter, the S6, on the other hand, only recently dropped in price to $500 with the release of the Galaxy S7, and the S6 Edge still retails at around $600.

This doesn’t make sense, when you look at it, after all we’re comparing a 9.7-inch tablet with a 5.1-inch smartphone, yet they cost the same. You would think a larger screen would mean higher prices the same way a 52-inch TV costs more than a 32-inch one, but this doesn’t happen. So what’s behind the reverse proportionality?

Reasons behind the pricing

It comes down to demand and competition:

Demand

Demand for tablets is obviously lower than smartphones’, I would guess you probably don’t even know the latest Samsung tablet release. Smartphone manufacturers have chosen to concentrate on smaller devices which are in higher demand and produce more profits. Due to the low demand for tablets, their prices have been decreased to make the purchase a bit more lucrative.

Competition

In this case, I don’t mean competition with other manufacturers, but instead about productivity. Almost everyone in the world right now owns a smartphone because of the convenience of a small device with the ability to perform various tasks. At the same time, those who want to do more while on-the-go would rather acquire a laptop than a tablet for 2 reasons:

  1. A good laptop can do a lot more than a tablet
  2. Most laptops cost as much as a tablet

The question on most people’s minds, therefore, is why purchase a $500 tablet when a $500 laptop has better specs? Manufacturers know this, and have chosen to keep tablets moderately affordable so that they can make that decision a bit tougher and perhaps one or two people will opt for the tablet.

Bottom line

Research has shown that the average person will carry about 2.5 devices with them at any one time. Smartphones take the cake with 85% of people always carrying their phones and 65% with a laptop. Less than 50% of people carry tablets, and this is the reason their prices are unreasonably lower than smartphones’, to try and raise their significance.


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