Explain Flat

Benedict Evans tweeted the only tweet that really makes sense about the iPad sales.

スクリーンショット 2014 04 24 10 23 06

Anybody can give multiple reasons why iPad sales might have slowed down, and the numerous replies to Ben’s tweet show that. However, none of these answer his question adequately.

His question;

  1. It’s a great product.
  2. It has a good price (was alarmingly cheap on introduction)
  3. Has very wide acceptance
  4. Has very high user satisfaction
  5. And STILL has flat sales

I would also add;

  1. Had tremendous growth up till 2012

Any acceptable answer has to answer all of these. It’s not easy.

Flat or declining sales in tech is something that we associate with products like the iPod or the PC. In these markets, no matter how good the product, sales will not grow because the market itself is shrinking. We often attribute this to a replacement product; a product that is making the old one obsolete. So the question is, is the iPad market being obsoleted by some other product?

We also have to answer the growth until 2012 question. If we simply say that tablets aren’t very useful anyway, how do we explain growth until 2012. We can’t.

The easiest way to think about it is that the iPod or PC cycle (from boom to bust) came in fast-forward; the nature of the market changed.