IDC: Tablet shipments drop off in the face of strong phablet competition

Tablets are seeing their reign at the top of the consumer electronics sector under threat after shipments showed a considerable drop off in the face of phablet growth and consumers deciding against buying second tablets.

Related: ABI: 20% increase in tablet shipments driven by Apple and Samsung push in emerging markets

Figures from IDC reported that 50.4 million tablets and two-in-one computers were shipped in Q1 2014 – an increase of just 3.9 per cent compared to last year and down 35.7 per cent when up against Q4 2013, which covered Christmas.

"The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter for tablets and two-in-ones," said Tom Mainelli, IDC Program Vice President, Devices and Displays. "In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments."

Apple remains the market leader after shipping 16.4 million units in the quarter and, even though this was down on Q4 2014 [26 million units] and Q1 2013 [19.5 million units], its market share stayed steady at 32.5 per cent, a modest drop from 33.2 per cent in the previous quarter.

Its main competitor, Samsung, grew in stature when it came to market share with growth from 17.2 per cent last quarter to 22.3 per cent this one and the remainder of the top five included ASUS [five per cent], Lenovo [4.1 per cent], and Amazon [1.9 per cent].

"With roughly two-thirds share, Android continues to dominate the market," said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "Although its share of the market remains small, Windows devices continue to gain traction thanks to sleeper hits like the Asus T100, whose low cost and 2-in-1 form factor appeal to those looking for something that's 'good enough'."