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Industry feels the heat as tablet market misses a beat

05 May 14

Worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 shipments slipped to 50.4 million units in the first calendar quarter of 2014, with the slowdown also felt across operating systems and screen sizes.

According to preliminary data from IDC, this likely points to an even more challenging year ahead for the category.

Representing a sequential decline of -35.7% from the high-volume holiday quarter, the total shows just 3.9% growth over the same period a year ago.

"The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter for tablets and 2-in-1s," says Tom Mainelli, IDC Program Vice President, Devices and Displays.

"In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments."

Apple maintained its lead in the worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 market, shipping 16.4 million units, down from 26.0 million units in the previous quarter and well below its total of 19.5 million units in the first quarter of 2013.

Despite the contraction, the company saw its share of the market slip only modestly to 32.5%, down from the previous quarter's share of 33.2%.

Samsung once again grew its worldwide share, increasing from 17.2% last quarter to 22.3% this quarter with the South Korean firm working aggressively with carriers to drive tablet shipments through attractively priced smartphone bundles.

Rounding out the top five were ASUS (5%), Lenovo (4.1%), and Amazon (1.9%).

"With roughly two-thirds share, Android continues to dominate the market," adds Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.

"Although its share of the market remains small, Windows devices continue to gain traction thanks to sleeper hits like the Asus T100, whose low cost and 2-in-1 form factor appeal to those looking for something that's 'good enough'."

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