By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tablet shipments will increase this year but at a much slower pace than in 2013 as consumers remain content with the devices they already own, market research firm IDC said on Thursday.
Global tablet shipments are set to expand 19.4 percent this year, compared to 51.6 percent in 2013, it said.
IDC's prediction for tablet growth in 2014 is 3.6 percentage points less than its previous forecast for the year.
Consumers in mature markets such as the United States are increasingly holding onto the high-end tablets they previously bought, IDC said.
"Few are feeling compelled to upgrade the same way they did in years past, and that's having an impact on growth rates," IDC analyst Tom Mainelli said in a report.
Since Apple dazzled consumers with its first iPad in 2010, manufacturers have increasingly focused on making fewer expensive tablets.
But a decline in the average selling prices for tablets of all price levels appeared to be bottoming out as consumers move from "ultra-low cost" products toward devices that last longer, IDC said.
Average selling prices are expected decline 3.6 percent this year, compared to a 14.6 percent drop in 2013, IDC said.
(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Amanda Kwan)