market research on tabletsWorldwide tablet shipments posted a quarterly decline in 4Q 2014 – the first such drop since the first shipments were made back in 2010, according to the latest market data from IDC. Globally, shipments of tablets and 2-in-1 devices totaled 76.1 million in 4Q 2014, down 3.2 percent from a year ago, according to preliminary data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.

Annual total shipments of tablets for 2014 was a different story, however. Shipments for the full year rose 4.4 percent to reach a total 229.6 million units.

Tablet Shipments
Apple continued as the unchallenged tablet market leader, shipping 21.4 million tablets in 2014 for a 28.1 percent market share. Samsung held second place, shipping 11 million units.

Lenovo accounted for the third-largest total tablet shipments for 2014 and earning a 4.8 percent market share. Asus (4 percent) and Amazon (2.3 percent) followed in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Of the top five tablet OEMs, only Lenovo managed to post fourth quarter growth in 2014 as compared to 4Q 2013, IDC noted. The scale of Lenovo’s PC business and its low-cost tablet offerings enabled Lenovo to “maintain its tight grip on the Asia-Pacific market,” IDC commented.

“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,” Jitesh Ubrani, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker senior research analyst, was quoted in a press release.

“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.”

Looking forward, IDC’s director of tablets research Jean Philippe Bouchard added: “Despite an apparent slow-down of the market, we maintain our forecast about tablet growth in 2015.

“Microsoft’s new OS, a general shift towards [a] larger screen form factor and productivity focused solutions, and technology innovations such as gesture interface that could be introduced in tablets will help the market maintain positive growth in 2015.”

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