They may be great for keeping hyperactive kids occupied and serving as a second computer screen, but tablets are having a hard time luring users to shell out for more. At least, that seems to be the takeaway from International Data Corp.'s latest report on tablet sales.
According to IDC, the tablet sector reported its first year-over-year decline since sales of the devices began in 2010. Overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices reached 76.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, a decline of 3.2 percent, according to preliminary data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Although the fourth quarter witnessed a decline in the global market, shipments for the full year 2014 increased 4.4 percent, totaling 229.6 million units.
Apple Still Leading the Pack
Apple once again maintained its top spot as the tablet maker of choice with its popular iPad. The company shipped 21.4 million units in the fourth quarter, good for 28.1 percent of the market, beating Samsung's 11 million units and 14.5 percent market share. But even those numbers were not enough, as sales fell 17.8 percent for the company from the same period the year before. Samsung, meanwhile, saw its tablet sales fall by 18.4 percent.
Despite the company's best efforts to maintain the iPad's momentum, the latest generation of the iPad Air and mini failed to capture consumers' imaginations. The latest models offered only slight upgrades to previous versions. And the company seemed to be competing with itself, with buyers opting for either the iPhone 6 Plus or MacBook instead.
"The tablet market is still very top heavy in the sense that it relies mostly on Apple and Samsung to carry the market forward each year," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
"Although Apple expanded its iPad lineup by keeping around older models and offering a lower entry price point of $249, it still wasn't enough to spur iPad sales given the excitement around the launch of the new iPhones. Meanwhile, Samsung's struggles continued as low-cost vendors are quickly proving that mid- to high-priced Android tablets simply aren't cut out for today's tablet market."
Grim Year for Amazon
Samsung was at least able to achieve its goal of shipping 40 million tablets in 2014, up 1.1 percent from 2013. Samsung's Tab 4 series has been well received and its recent announcement to focus on mid-high tier tablets should help the bottom line, though market share will likely continue to struggle. Lenovo, Asus and Amazon rounded out the third, fourth and fifth spots respectively for the quarter.
The news was not quite as gloomy for the year overall. But despite tablets' ability to eke out a slight gain for the year, Apple saw its 2014 figures drop 14.6 percent from 2013, selling only 63.4 million units.
Although Samsung managed to largely hold steady, Amazon took one on the chin. The giant e-tailer suffered the steepest decline for the year among all tablet makers, with Kindle Fire sales cratering 66.4 percent, down to 3.3 million units.
Posted: 2015-03-05 @ 10:04pm PT
I'm not sure the decline in sales really matters. The reason I say this is because there is nothing to replace them with other than buying a replacement. People aren't going from notebook or desktop to the portability of a tablet and then back to another notebook or desktop. The industry is just going to have to relaunch the tablet with new and better features. What else can they do?
Posted: 2015-02-03 @ 11:11am PT
I didn't think they would last this long. I bought my kids tablets in 2011 and 2013 and they still work fine. There's not enough better about the ones coming out every year that would convince people to buy them that often.
Posted: 2015-02-03 @ 10:57am PT
In my opinion, the only thing keeping Samsung alive in the tablet market is their competitive pricing. The affordability is very tempting, but I don't want to to have to shell out money for things like http://www.detoxyourpc.com just so I can make mine fast again. I feel the focus for Microsoft lately has been on aesthetics to compete with Apple as opposed to the functionality that once was present during Microsoft's glory days.
Apple is still leading the pack as you mentioned because of how well they run.