Tablet Shipments Stall, With Tough Year Ahead, IDC Reports


Tablet shipments have stalled as the market for the once-booming sector begins to cool, IDC reported Thursday. The tablet plus 2-in-1 device market, IDC reported, face growth challenges in 2014 as large-screen phones cannibalize slate sales and life cycles grow longer for tablets.

The market-share leader is Apple, with 32.5 percent share, followed by Samsung, with 22.3 percent, Asus, 5 percent, Lenovo, 4.1 percent, and Amazon at 1.9 percent picking up the tail end, according to IDC. Android is the top operating system, reports IDC, running on almost two-thirds of tablets.

IDC reported 50.4 million total units shipped in the first quarter of 2014, representing an expected quarterly dip in the market of 35.7 percent since the holiday quarter. Compared to the first quarter 2013, the tablet plus 2-in-1 market experienced anemic growth of just 3.9 percent.  Lenovo saw the largest year-over-year growth of any company at 224.3 percent, while Amazon saw the biggest year-over-year market share drop of 47.1 percent. ​

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“I'm not surprised,” said Steven  Kantorowitz, president of CelPro Associates, based in New York, of the drop in the market. "The screens on regular smartphones are getting bigger. You don’t always need a tablet. For more day-to-day and business uses you’ll see the smartphone taking the place of the tablets,” he said.

Despite the slowing of the larger tablet market, some channel partners are bullish about tablet sales into the enterprise in 2014.

"We anticipate 10-inch tablets, enabled with keyboards, driving new sales in 2014 as more companies replenish laptops with 2-in-1 tablets," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at SIGMAnet, an Ontario, Calif.-based solution provider specializing in the education market. "The tablet and 2-in-1 market is getting a lot of second looks by business. In retail, education and health care, we are starting to see a share shift from notebook to tablets."   

Despite gains in enterprise, Tom Mainelli, IDC program vice president of Devices and Displays, said, "commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments." 

Apple has maintained its stance as the market leader since the release of the iPad in 2010. IDC reported Apple shipped 16.4 million iPads in the first quarter of 2014, representing a year-over-year decline of 16.1 percent. It's also a significant drop from the 26 million iPads sold during the holiday buying season.

Kantorowitz sees Apple's tablet market share continuing to fall upon the release of the iPhone 6, which he says will likely have a larger screen than previous iPhone models. "Why carry around the tablet when you can carry around the smartphone?" he said.

PUBLISHED MAY 1, 2014