market research on tabletsWorldwide tablet shipments declined 5.9 percent year-over-year in this year’s first quarter (1Q’15), repeating a scenario that occurred in the previous quarter, according to preliminary data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. 1Q’15 shipments of tablets and 2-in-1 devices, also known as detachables, totaled 47.1 million units.

“The market slowdown that we witnessed last quarter is continuing to impact the tablet segment, but we see some growth areas that are starting to materialize,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC research director for tablets. “Cellular-enabled tablets are outgrowing the rest of the market, providing an additional revenue stream for OEMs and mobile operators. In addition to driving higher usage than Wi-Fi-only tablets, cellular-enabled tablets also help position the segment as true mobile solutions rather than stay-at-home devices.”

Tablet Shipments
The annualized growth rate in tablet shipments for market leader Apple has fallen for five consecutive quarters, IDC points out. At 12.6 million, Apple’s 1Q’15 iPad shipments accounted for 26.8 percent of the global total. That’s down 22.9 percent compared to a year ago.

Samsung, the world’s second largest tablet manufacturer, shipped 9 million units worldwide in 1Q for a 19.1 percent market share. That’s down 16.5 percent from 1Q’14.

Third-ranked Lenovo shipped 2.5 million tablets and 2-in-1 devices for the quarter, up 23 percent, for a 5.3 percent share of the market. ASUS and LG Electronics round out IDC’s 1Q’15 top 5 ranking of shipments by tablet manufacturers.

ASUS shipped 1.8 million units in 1Q, down 30.6 percent, for a 3.8 percent market share. LG shipped 1.4 million, up over 1,400 percent, for a 3.1 percent market share.

“Although the tablet market is in decline, 2-in-1’s are certainly a bright spot,” commented Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker Senior Research Analyst Jitesh Ubrani. “While 2-in-1, or detachables, still account for a small portion of the overall market, growth in this space has been stunning as vendors like Asus, Acer, and E-FUN have been able to offer products at a fantastic value; and vendors like Microsoft have been able to drive growth at the high end with devices like the Surface Pro 3.”

Vendor Trends
IDC provides the following additional highlights of its latest quarterly tablet tracker

  • Apple’s iPads continue to suffer from the success of the new iPhone and to a lesser extent of the Mac product line. IDC expects Apple to record negative growth until the iPad portfolio is significantly refreshed, either with the expected increase in screen sizes or by introducing a dedicated version of iOS for its tablet
  • Samsung managed to maintain its position in the market despite a significant decline in shipment volumes. The market shift to connected tablets will likely benefit the Korean vendor as they can and should leverage their mobile expertise and carrier relationships.
  • Lenovo is one of the few tablet vendors that continues to grow in a declining market. The company’s wide range of products – including plenty of low-cost offerings – are proving popular in a growing number of regions and it is a brand that performs well in the adjacent PC and smartphone markets.
  • Asus’ new Transformer lineup launched in mid-February, leading to less-than-expected growth in the first quarter. However the new “Chi” devices have been well received in developed markets.
  • It wasn’t too long ago that LG Electronics exited the tablet market due to the poor performance of its original Optimus Pad. However, since returning to the tablet business in late 2013, LG has been able to leverage its relationship with local telcos, garnering an impressive 10% growth over the fourth quarter in a market that declined -38% quarter over quarter and capturing a spot in the worldwide Top 5.

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