Sales of Apple's iPad crumble: Samsung and Lenovo make huge market share gains

Worldwide tablet sales have started to fall, according to IDC.

The industry analyst says that global tablet sales in Q1 – amounting to 50.4 million units – were 35 per cent lower than the same period last year.

Read more: Can you use a tablet for work - all the time?

IDC reckons that this drastic fall has a lot to do with the rise of the phablet and a general reluctance to upgrade devices immediately.

"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-expected quarter," said IDC's Tom Mainelli. "In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments."

However, this trend doesn't seem to be putting all consumers off. A recent eMarketer survey shows that UK tablet owners top the EU charts when it comes to this particular type of device.

Apple remains the most dominant manufacturer in the tablet area, boasting 32.5 per cent of the market. However, the Cupertino-based company's slice is in decline. Sales of iPads have dropped by 16.1 per cent year-on-year – in the first quarter of 2013, Apple occupied a massive 40.2 per cent of the market.

Samsung is one of the main beneficiaries of this swing, with sales of its tablets rising by 32 per cent year-on-year. The South Korean firm has seen its market share rise from 17.5 per cent to 22.3 per cent in the same period.

Read more: Why have phablets become so popular?

However, Lenovo has been the biggest surprise package, according to IDC. The company, which is better-known for its laptops, has increased its sales by a staggering 224.3 per cent year-on-year, flogging 2.1 million units in Q1 2014, compared to a mere 600,000 in the same period last year.

Microsoft's chunk of the market "remains small" according to the analyst.