The days of near runaway growth in tablet sales (chiefly iPad) may never return, but new research figures show it’s still a healthy, albeit maturing, market.
Globally, tablet shipments grew a respectable 11% in the second quarter of this year compared to the year ago according to figures released in IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
There was actually a quarter-to-quarter dip in shipments with a 1.5% decline from Q1, but IDC said it expects to see “positive but slower growth” for the year.
Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC’s Research Director for Tablets, pointed to a few reasons for the decline in shipments. One is that tablet makers are losing some sales to larger-screen smartphones or so-called “phablets”. Tablet lifecycles have also proven to be longer than researchers expected with users waiting longer to upgrade than they do for notebooks and other computing devices.
"We can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets,” said Bouchard. "Despite this trend, we believe that stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market."
Another dip in iPad shipments
Apple maintained its worldwide lead in shipments in Q2, despite a drop for the second straight quarter. In Q2 IDC said Apple shipped 13.3 million iPads and had a 26.9% share of the market.
There was more significant movement in the companies trying to catch or at least keep up with Apple. Number two Samsung shipped 8.5 million tablets, but slipped in market at 17.2% compared to 18.8% in the year ago quarter. Lenovo passed Asus to take over the 3rd spot in the rankings with 2.4 million units shipped in the quarter for a 4.9% market share. Asus was close by with a 4.6% share followed by Acer at 2.0.
IDC said these other vendors outside the top five (Amazon, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Amazon and others) accounted for an all-time high percentage of total tablet shipments for the quarter at 44.4%.
"Until recently, Apple, and to a lesser extent Samsung, have been sitting at the top of the market, minimally impacted by the progress from competitors," said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst at IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "Now we are seeing growth amongst the smaller vendors and a levelling of shares across more vendors as the market enters a new phase.