ipad2The Apple iPad market share continued to slide in 4Q 2014 amid stagnating growth in the global tablet market overall, according to the latest market data from ABI Research. Totaling 21.42 million, shipments of Apple tablets fell 18 percent year-over-year in 4Q’14.

Data for 1Q’15 show Apple shipping only 12.62 million iPads, 23 percent less than it shipped in 1Q’14.

Apple’s not the only company reporting declining tablet shipments, however, according to ABI’s Media Tablets, Ultrabook and eReaders market research. Samsung reported a 30 percent year-over-year decline in 1Q’15 tablet shipments.

Overall, branded OEM tablet shipments fell 13 percent year-over-year. ABI expects branded tablet market growth to remain flat to slightly negative over the next year.

“There is no denying the market is losing its momentum,” ABI research analyst Stephanie Van Vactor commented. “The market is in the process of going through a transition as developed markets shift to a refresh/replacement cycle. In addition, vendors are feeling the squeeze due to new devices gaining traction in the market that are in direct competition with tablets, for example, 2-in-1s, phablets, and Chromebooks.”

ABI still sees growth potential in the tablet market, however. “There are still markets and technology innovations waiting to be explored for this form-factor,” ABI says. “Tablets remain popular in mature market economies and business adoption has yet to take hold,” ABI Senior Practice Director Jeff Orr stated.

“Continuing growth in phablets and ultraportable PCs demonstrates that the tablet form-factor is a convenience and not a necessity.”