Tablets show YoY dip in Q4, but market grows annually

Shipments grow across 2014, despite end-of-year lull; IDC sticks to 2015 growth projections

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Tablets show YoY dip in Q4, but market grows annually
By  Stephen McBride Published  February 3, 2015

Worldwide tablet shipments recorded a year-on-year decline in the fourth quarter, for the first time since the market's birth in 2010, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) figures.

Overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices reached 76.1m in the fourth quarter of 2014 equating to a 3.2% decline, according to preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Despite the Q4 decline, shipments for the full year increased 4.4% from 2013, standing at 229.6m units.

"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, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.

"Although Apple expanded its iPad line-up 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."

Apple's lead over other vendors remained undisputed, as it shipped 21.4m tablets, accounting for over a quarter of the market with 28.1%.

Samsung held on to second place with 11m units shipped. Lenovo (4.8%), ASUS (4%), and Amazon (2.3%) competed the top 5, with only Lenovo year-on-year growth for the quarter.

Despite the Q4 dip, IDC is sticking to earlier forecasts about growth in the tablet market during 2015.

"Microsoft's new OS; a general shift towards 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," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director, Tablets, IDC.

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