Worldwide tablet shipments recorded a year-over-year decline for the first time since the market’s inception in 2010. Overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices reached 76.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14) for -3.2% growth, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation research group. Although the fourth quarter witnessed a decline in the global market, shipments for the full year 2014 increased 4.4%, totaling 229.6 million units.
“The tablet market is still very top heavy in the sense that it relies mostly on Apple and Samsung to carry the market forward each year,” says Jitetesh Ubrani, senior research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, IDC (www.idc.com). “Although Apple expanded its iPad lineup by keeping around older models and offering a lower entry price point of $249, it still wasn’t enough to spur iPad sales given the excitement around the launch of the new iPhones. Meanwhile, Samsung’s struggles continued as low-cost vendors are quickly proving that mid- to high-priced Android tablets simply aren’t cut out for today’s tablet market.”
Apple’s lead over other vendors has yet to be truly challenged as it shipped 21.4 million tablets, accounting for over a quarter of the market with 28.1% volume share. Despite Samsung’s woes, it managed to hold on to the second place with 11 million units shipped. Lenovo (4.8%), ASUS (4%), and Amazon (2.3%) rounded out the top five although only Lenovo managed to grow annually when compared to Q4 2013. Lenovo maintained its tight grip on the Asia/Pacific market thanks to its massive scale in the PC business and the success of its low-cost tablet offerings.
“Despite an apparent slow-down of the market, we maintain our forecast about tablet growth in 2015,” says Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director, Tablets, IDC.