Tablet sales were weak during the first quarter of 2014: Most tablet vendors experienced a 30% decline in units sold.
But this is just temporary, according to ABI Research. The firm expects sales to rebound and grow to over 200 million devices for the whole year, compared to 166 million in 2013.
ABI only considers “branded” tablets in its figures. These oversee the low-end segment of white-box devices which has been estimated by other research firms to be as large as a third of the whole tablet market.
“Tablet hardware sales from branded OEMs are likely to top US$85 billion this year,” says ABI senior practice director Jeff Orr. “We have yet to reach the top of the tablet market and with many world regions just now starting to adopt, the best is yet to come.”
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Part of the growth will be fueled by Intel efforts. ABI expects that 40 million Intel-powered tablets will be sold this year. A large number of these should come from smaller manufacturers in China and Taiwan developing next-generation Android tablets during the second half of the year.
But this won’t jeopardize Apple’s leadership position. ABI still expects Apple to sell the largest number of tablets, with Samsung a close second. Combined, they will command an impressive 70%+ market share in branded tablet sales worldwide.
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