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Tablet sales slip; IDC says users holding onto their devices longer before upgrading

by David Needle

May 1 2014

Research firm IDC says worldwide tablet shipments dropped by 50.4 million units in Q1 of 2014 covering both traditional tablets and so-called 2-in-1 hybrid devices.

The total represents a sequential decline of -35.7% from the high-volume holiday quarter and just 3.9% growth over the same quarter a year ago. IDC says the slowdown showed no favorites as it was felt across operating systems and screen sizes and likely points to an even more challenging year ahead for the category.

"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," said Tom Mainelli, IDC Program VP for Devices and Displays. "In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments."

Beyond the overall drop Apple’s iPad continues to lead the pack as the best-selling tablet worldwide. IDC estimates Apple shipped 16.4 million units in the quarter, 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.

(Choosing the right form factor device will be one of the key sessions at the Tablet Strategy conference in New York on May 6, 2014. There is still time to register this week)

Android, Windows challenges iPad

But Apple’s share of the market dropped only slightly to 32.5%, down from 33.2% in the earlier quarter. Samsung grew its worldwide share, increasing from 17.2% last quarter to 22.3% this quarter. 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," said IDC Research Analyst Jitesh Ubrani. "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'."

David Needle is Editor of TabTimes and based in Silicon Valley.
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